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Kosovo recognizes Israel, will have embassy in Jerusalem

Kosovo has become the latest Muslim nation to officially established diplomatic ties with Israel.

It marks yet another diplomatic achievement of the Trump administration coming weeks after Donald Trump left office. In a Metro Voice story in January, it was reported that the administration was close to securing more peace agreements with Israel but ran out of time as inauguration day drew near.

The ceremony was held virtually after Israel’s main airport was closed in an effort to lower Covid cases. Kosovo’s Foreign Minister, Meliza Haradinaj-Stubla, had been scheduled to travel to Israel to attend the ceremony in person.

In a video on her Facebook page, Haradinaj-Stubla cited Israel and Kosovo’s similar struggles for independence.

READ: Kosovo names bridge after Trump for peace efforts

“Despite the challenges we faced and that affected our existence we remained invincible as peoples and never gave up nor did we lose hope,” she said.

Israel and Kosovo decided to mutually recognize each other last September at the White House during a meeting held by then President Trump.

Kosovo’s Parliament declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Most Western counties recognized Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China have not. Kosovo did not recognize Israel because the Jewish state refused to recognize the Balkan country’s own independence. Israel did not want to recognize a unilateral declaration of statehood over concern that it could set a precedent for Palestinian nationalists.

“Recognition by Israel is one of the greatest achievements for Kosovo, coming at a key moment for us, thanks to the United States of America, our common and eternal ally,” she said.

Kosovo, a Muslim-majority country, will open its embassy in Jerusalem, making it the third country to do so after the United States and Guatemala. Several other countries have said they plan to do so in the future.

There is some question as to whether the Biden administration will keep the embassy in Jerusalem. The Senate last week, in a rare bipartisan move, voted 97-3 in support of keeping the embassy in Jerusalem. President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moved the embassy there the following year.

–Dwight Widaman and wire services