Saturday, May 28th | 28 Iyyar 5782

September 4, 2020 1:08 pm

Serbia Says It Will Move Embassy to Jerusalem; Israel and Kosovo Set to Establish Diplomatic Ties

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

US President Donald Trump hosts a signing ceremony with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, at the White House in Washington, DC, Sept. 4, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Leah Millis.

It was announced on Friday that Serbia would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by next summer, and also that the Jewish state and mostly-Muslim Kosovo had agreed to establish diplomatic relations.

The news came as the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo signed an economic normalization deal ‐‐ brokered by the Trump administration ‐‐ at the White House in Washington, DC.

Once implemented, the Jerusalem move would make Serbia the first European country to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital.

The US moved its embassy to Jerusalem in 2018, and had since been followed only by Guatemala.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Friday’s developments “another achievement in efforts to expand Israel’s diplomatic ties and [gain] recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

“I thank my friend Serbian President [Aleksander] Vucic for the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move his country’s embassy there,” Netanyahu said. “I also want to thank my friend President Trump for his contribution to this achievement.”

“We will continue our efforts so more European countries move their embassies to Jerusalem,” he added.

Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan tweeted, “Another breakthrough, another Muslim country normalizing ties with #Israel. After the UAE & Kosovo, I believe more Muslim & Arab states will opt for peace, leaving the #Palestinians isolated. Perhaps this will convince future Palestinian leaders to make concessions for peace.”

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said in a statement, “We welcome today’s historic agreement between Serbia and Kosovo that was brokered by the United States, which represents another diplomatic breakthrough for Israel just weeks after the announcement of the Abraham Accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”

“Under the terms of the agreement, Serbia will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move their embassy there from Tel Aviv, and the majority-Muslim Kosovo will establish formal reciprocal diplomatic relations with Israel,” it added. “This is a significant development on two fronts: it furthers international recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and it builds on progress made to cultivate ties between Israel and Muslim countries. This achievement advances efforts to enhance stability and cooperation while sending a clear message to those promoting extremism and violence​.”

The statement concluded, “We congratulate the Serbian, Kosavar, Israeli and American leaders who worked tirelessly on reaching this agreement and look forward to its implementation in the coming days. It is our hope that more countries will follow in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and establishing formal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.”

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