Kosovo, Israel agree to normalize ties; Serbia to move embassy to Jerusalem

Kosovo, Israel agree to normalize ties; Serbia to move embassy to Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump said Friday that Kosovo and Israel had agreed to normalizing ties and establishing diplomatic relations in Washington’s latest push for countries around the world to warm ties with Tel Aviv. Former rivals Kosovo and Serbia also committed to economic normalization, Trump said.

“Serbia and Kosovo have each committed to economic normalization,” the US president said alongside officials from Kosovo and Serbia.

After two days of meetings with Trump administration officials, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti agreed to cooperate on a range of economic fronts to attract investment and create jobs.

Ethnic Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after a NATO-led bombing campaign to curtail ethnic warfare. Serbia, backed by its large Slavic and Orthodox Christian ally Russia, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, a precondition for Belgrade’s future membership in the European Union.

Ties with Israel

Trump revealed that Serbia, which recently designated Iran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Kosovo, meanwhile, has agreed with Israel to normalize ties and establish diplomatic relations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked “my friend, the president of Serbia.” Netanyahu said the embassy move would take place by July of next year.

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