(February 2, 2021 / JNS) Serbia expressed displeasure on Tuesday with Israel’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Kosovo, which took place via a Zoom ceremony the day before.
Kosovo is a former Serbian province and not recognized as a state by Belgrade, as well by its major allies Russia and China. Kosovo and Serbia were locked in a bitter war between 1998 and 1999.
“We have invested serious efforts in our relations with Israel in recent years, and we are not happy with this decision,” said Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković, speaking to public broadcaster RTS as reported by AFP.
Selakovic added that Israel’s move would “undoubtedly influence relations between Serbia and Israel,” even though the nations have maintained good diplomatic relations since 1991.
Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and is now recognized by most of the Western world, but still has no seat at the United Nations.
With the initiation of relations, Kosovo has become the first Muslim-majority country to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
On Monday, Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi signed Israel’s agreement with Kosovo, then sent it to his counterpart, Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, who was joined by representatives of Kosovo’s Jewish community for the event. The two countries initiated two cooperation agreements: one to establish diplomatic ties and the other relating to activities of Israel’s international development agency Mashav.
“The establishment of relations between Israel and Kosovo is an important and moving historical step that reflects the many changes the region has experienced in recent months,” said Ashkenazi. “Today, Kosovo officially joins the circle of countries that aspire to peace and stability and recognize Israel, and Jerusalem as its capital.”
Kosovo became the fifth Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel, following the recent U.S.-brokered agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
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