Kosovo and Israel formalized diplomatic ties via an online ceremony Monday in which Kosovo committed to moving its embassy to Jerusalem, another step towards the normalization of relations between Muslim-majority countries and the Jewish state.
“This agreement is an important and exciting step in the diplomatic relationship between us and Kosovo,” tweeted Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
“In our conversation, the Foreign Minister [Kosovo’s Meliza Haradinaj] emphasized Kosovo’s commitment to recognizing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and shared with me its program to promote the memory of the Holocaust, care for Jewish cemeteries and the opening of a Jewish cultural center this year,” Ashkenazi continued.
If Kosovo follows through on its commitments, it will be the first Muslim-majority country to establish an embassy in Jerusalem, which Prime Minister Netanyahu expects will allow “the circle of peace and recognition of Israel [to continue] widening.”
Kosovo and Israel’s warming relations were announced by President Trump in September 2020 following a U.S.-brokered deal that resulted in Serbia and Kosovo establishing economic relations and mutual recognition of sovereignty between Israel and Kosovo.
The deal also resulted in Serbia agreeing to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Israel and Kosovo share the “historical bond” of having to fight for international recognition of state sovereignty, and the new diplomatic relations “mark a new chapter” for the two countries, according to Haradinaj.
The United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem in 2017, signifying the Trump administration’s strong support for Israel and refusal to cave to international pressure.
“I thank the United States for its efforts to promote world peace, and to promote Israel’s relations with countries with which we have not had diplomatic relations until recently,” said Ashkenazi.