Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Serbia has recognized Jerusalem as the country’s capital and will soon move its embassy there. Israel will also establish ties with Kosovo, Haaretz has reported. This comes immediately after Kosovo and Serbia signed an agreement brokered by President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday. This is the first known result of the deal, whose content remains unknown. Netanyahu thanked Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for the “decision to recognize Israel as the capital of Israel and to transfer to it his country’s embassy.”
Below is an article published by Haaretz
U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that Serbia has committed to moving its embassy to Jerusalem, and that Kosovo and Israel had agreed to normalize ties and establish diplomatic relations.
Trump, speaking in the Oval Office before a meeting with the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo, said the two countries have agreed to normalize economic ties, hailing what he called a “major breakthrough” more than a decade after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Serbian President Aleksander Vucic announced Friday that Serbia will move its embassy to Jerusalem by July 2021, and that it will open a representative office until then.
The U.S. president is presiding over talks between Kosovo and Serbia in what some see as an attempt to present it as another diplomatic achievement ahead of the U.S. election in November.
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In April, the Guardian reported that ousted Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti blamed Trump’s ambassador, Richard Grenell, of the deal with Serbia as a boon for the U.S. president.
Trump called Netanyahu during his meeting on Friday with Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Huti, and congratulated the two leaders for their decision. Huti also said that Kosovo will open an embassy in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu said following the conversation that Kosovo will be the “First country with a Muslim majority to open an embassy in Jerusalem. As I have said in recent days, the circle of peace and recognition of Israel is widening and other nations are expected to join it.”
Earlier on Friday, Netanyahu thanked Serbian President Aleksandar Vuči for the “decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer to it his country’s embassy. We will proceed with efforts so that other European nations move their embassies to Jerusalem.”
Israel has been in talks over past years with Kosovo about opening an office for economic interests in Tel Aviv to advance investment and trade with the Balkan state. There are currently no official diplomatic ties between Israel and Kosovo, and Israel refuses to recognize Kosovo’s independence, even though many other countries – including the United States – have done so.
A basic agreement was reached in August 2017, but only now has the process begun.
Though Serbia is not a member of the European Union, this marks the first time a European country is opening an embassy in Jerusalem.