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Kosovo becomes third country to open embassy in Jerusalem

26th Feb 2021

Harun Nasrullah

Kosovo and Israel established diplomatic relations on February 1 with a virtual ceremony.

The signing to formalise bilateral diplomatic, which includes Kosovo recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, was signed by Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla and her Israeli counterpart Gabriel Ashkenazi. Kosovo will be the third country to open an embassy in Jerusalem after the US and Guatemala. Haradinaj-Stublla said, “Israel is becoming the 117th country to recognise the Republic of Kosovo as an independent and sovereign country”.

The ceremony ended with the unveiling of a plaque that will be placed at the entrance of the future embassy of Kosovo in Jerusalem. Speaking about the establishment of diplomatic ties between Kosovo and Israel, Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić, said, “We are unhappy about that.”

The establishment of relations between Kosovo and Israel was preceded by agreements on the normalisation of relations reached in recent months between the Jewish state and four Arab countries, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.

The EU expressed regret over Kosovo’s decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem. “This is a regrettable decision […] because this decision is diverging Kosovo from the EU position on Jerusalem”, said Peter Stano, the European Commission Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs.

All member countries’ embassies and the EU’s delegation are located in Tel Aviv in line with UN Security Council resolutions and the decisions of the EU foreign affairs ministers, he explained. The bloc insists that “the final solution to Jerusalem has to be found by direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians”.

Turkey also criticised Kosovo’s embassy decision, saying it violates UN resolutions and international law.
“Kosovo’s commitment in question violates international law, in particular UN resolutions adopted on this matter,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.

In contrast, 200 scholars and imams in Mauritania co-signed a fatwa on February 1, prohibiting the normalisation of relations with Israel. “The relationship with the usurping entity of the occupied Palestinian territory and Jerusalem is prohibited,” said the fatwa. “Normalisation is a complete support to the usurping Zionists [Israel] and their [policy] of killing and destruction,” the scholars said.

Al-Mukhtar bin Amin, a spokesman for the scholars, termed normalisation with Israel as “treason”. “Normalisation with Israel is considered a support to Israel to continue its aggression,” he said, describing the Israeli state as “cancer”.
Last month, a host of Mauritanian lawmakers called for criminalising normalisation with Israel. Mauritania froze its relations with Israel in 2009 and severed ties and expelled the Israeli ambassador a year later.

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