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Kosovar Foreign Minister Rebuffs Turkish Pressure Over Jerusalem Embassy

The flag of Kosovo flies in front of the country's embassy in Jerusalem, which Pristina opened there last month.
The flag of Kosovo flies in front of the country's embassy in Jerusalem, which Pristina opened there last month.

Kosovo's foreign minister has rejected pressure from Turkey over Pristina's recent opening of an embassy in the western part of Jerusalem by calling the move "a done deal."

Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla made the remark in an interview with the corruption-reporting website on March 30.

Mostly Muslim Kosovar, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, established diplomatic ties with Israel in a virtual ceremony on February 1 before establishing the embassy in Jerusalem in March.

The United States and Guatemala are the only other states with embassies in Jerusalem.

"I believe that the issue of our embassy in Israel is a done deal," Gervalla said. "Why is it a done deal? Because we cannot get involved in diplomatic adventures to reconsider an issue that already has ended."

Gervalla said Pristina wants to bolster ties with Israel but also seeks “a good friendship, good ties with Palestinian authorities."

Palestinian leaders claim east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed, as the capital of a future state.

Most countries have embassies in Tel Aviv.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter last week to incoming Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti urging his government to reconsider the Israeli move.

Hoti's caretaker predecessor, Avdullah Hoti, attended a summit hosted by then-U.S. President Donald Trump and also attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in September.

Much of the international focus was on efforts to restart talks to normalize relations between Pristina and Belgrade, which along with Russia and some EU members does not recognize Kosovar independence.

Kosovo Opens Embassy In Jerusalem
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But Hoti emerged with a side deal to an economic agreement pledging fresh ties with Israel. Serbia, which already had ties to Israel, also agreed to open an embassy in Jerusalem.

Trump spent a good part of his final year in office encouraging an Israeli push for broader normalization with its Arab and Muslim countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is battling to stay in power after inconclusive elections, praised the embassy move in a letter to Kurti and invited the Kosovar leader to Jerusalem for an embassy-opening ceremony.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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