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Kosovo Opens Embassy In Jerusalem, Weeks After Establishing Relations With Israel

Kosovo Opens Embassy In Jerusalem
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PRISTINA -- Kosovo has officially opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, six week after it formally established diplomatic relations with Israel.

"The Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Jerusalem will be strongly committed to increasing bilateral cooperation and strengthening the international profile of the state of Kosovo," Kosovo's Foreign Ministry said in a press statement on March 14.

The new embassy was opened by Ines Demiri, Kosovo's charge d'affaires in Israel, because representatives from Kosovo were unable to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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 the long-stalled normalization of ties between the neighbors.

The summit was somewhat overshadowed by a White House announcement that Kosovo had agreed to recognize Israel.

At the meeting, Belgrade also agreed to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, something it hasn't yet done.

The Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in late 2017 and moved the U.S. Embassy there in May 2018.

That decision prompted criticism from the Palestinians, most Muslim-majority countries, and many states in Europe, concerned that it would undermine prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last year, Trump brokered a series of deals to establish diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab states, including Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates.

However, the Arab parties to the accords have all maintained that their diplomatic missions in Israel will be in Tel Aviv.

Most Western countries have recognized Kosovo's independence, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China have not.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO conducted a 78-day air campaign against Serbia to stop a bloody crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters