In an unexpected announcement last week, US President Donald Trump said that Serbia and Kosovo had agreed to normalise economic ties as part of US-brokered talks that include Belgrade moving its Embassy to Jerusalem, and mutual recognition between Israel and Kosovo. The move is set to go ahead by July 2021.
The Muslim-majority state Kosovo recognised the Israel for the first time, and the two countries will establish diplomatic relations.
Serbia would be the first European nation to move their Embassy to Jerusalem in a move described as “historic” by Jared Kushner, senior advisor to Trump.
However, EU officials have warned Serbia against this saying they could undermine their membership to the European Union. The EU’s long-held policy is that the Jerusalem’s status should be decided in a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
In Belgrade, Serbian officials appeared to be stepping back from the embassy pledge, with Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic saying the final decision will still have to be discussed by the government and will depend on “a number of factors” including future development of ties with Israel.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the deal: “I thank my friend the President of Serbia… for the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to transfer his embassy there”.
Kosovo was formed in 2008 after it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Serbia refuses to recognise Kosovo’s statehood. The Kosovo’s speaker of the Parliament, Vjosa Osmani, welcomed the deal, stating: “Todah Rabah to Israel for recognising the Republic of Kosovo”.
This week news also came from the African nation of Chad, with Intelligence Minister of Israel, Eli Cohen, meeting with the Cabinet chairman of Chad, Abdelkarim Déby. In the meeting, Cohen said that Déby “expressed willingness” to open a diplomatic mission in Israel. They also discussed a business delegation to Chad, with Israel sharing its expertise in agriculture technology and promote projects in the country.