Kosovo, Israel to establish diplomatic relations next week: Official

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Kosovo and Israel will establish diplomatic relations next Monday, months after a US-brokered deal on mutual recognition, the foreign ministry in Pristina said on Friday.

In September, former US President Donald Trump announced at a summit originally organized to strike a deal between Kosovo and its former war foe Serbia that Muslim-majority Kosovo and the Tel Aviv would establish diplomatic ties.

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“Recognition by Israel is one of the greatest achievements for the Republic of Kosovo”, Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla said in a statement.

It “has been made possible thanks to our friend and eternal ally, the United States of America,” she said.

Bitter rivals Kosovo and Serbia signed a deal that was branded “historic” on economic normalization in Washington.

But the most eye-catching part of the summit was an announcement by Kosovo that it mutually recognize Israel and Serbia saying it would follow Washington’s lead in moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

So far, however, Serbia has failed to honor its pledge, with some officials claiming the deal was non-binding.

Kosovo also said it was ready to set up its Israel mission in Jerusalem, in exchange for Israel’s recognition, as it seeks to further legitimize its 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia and statehood.

The European Union has led the negotiations between Kosovo in Serbia for nearly a decade, without making significant progress.

In 2020, the US took the initiative in overseeing the talks in what many analysts saw as former US President Donald Trump’s pre-election diplomatic offensive.

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