Kosovo and Israel established diplomatic relations in a ceremony held online on Monday. Kosova’s Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla and Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, signed joint declaration from Jerusalem and Pristina due to the coronavirus pandemic. The establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states was part of US brokered agreements last September between Kosovo, Serbia and the Trump administration.
Mr. Ashkenazi stated that he had already approved an application to open the Kosovo embassy. The online ceremony included the unveiling of a plaque on the future site of Kosovo’s embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. The decision for Kosovo to open its embassy in Jerusalem was criticized at the time, including by Turkey, the Arab League and the European Union. Peter Stano, the EU’s spokesperson for external affairs, reiterated that criticism highlighting that all EU member states’ embassies to Israel were located in Tel Aviv. “In line with UN Security Council resolution 478, which called on all UN members to move their embassies to Tel Aviv, all EU member states’ embassies, as well as the EU delegation to Israel are located in Tel Aviv,” said Mr. Stano, adding that the Union expects Kosovo to act accordingly or risk undermining its European perspective.“Kosovo has identified EU integration as its strategic priority,” he said. “The EU expects Kosovo to act in line with this commitment so that its European perspective is not undermined.”
The sides also signed two memoranda of understanding on diplomatic consultations and cooperation. The documents were scanned and emailed during the ceremony, which included Ashkenazi unveiling a plaque to be placed at Kosovo’s Embassy in Jerusalem once the facility is opened.
Mrs. Haradinaj-Stublla noted that the establishment of diplomatic relations “would not have been possible without the blessing and strong commitment of the United States.”
The new administration of U.S. President Joe Biden applauded the Kosovo-Israel agreement as a “historic day.” “When our partners are united, the United States is stronger. Deeper international ties help further peace and stability in the Balkans and Middle East,” State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted.
In September 2020, former U.S. President Donald Trump gathered the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia at a White House summit meant to work toward long-stalled normalization of ties between the neighbors. The decision prompted criticism from Palestinians, most Muslim-majority countries, and many European states, concerned that it would undermine prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Source: White House, EU Press Release