Kosovo opens embassy to Israel in Jerusalem

A government official takes a selfie during a signing ceremony held digitally, in the capital Pristina, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. Kosovo and Israel formally have established diplomatic ties in a ceremony held digitally due to the pandemic lockdown. Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla and her Israeli counterpart Gabriel Ashkenazi on Monday held a virtual ceremony signing the documents. The two countries considered it as “making history” and marking “a new chapter.” (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry said it has formally opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.

A statement said the move was made after the establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel on Feb. 1 and a Kosovo-Serbia summit held at the White House in September.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora announces that the Kosovo Embassy in the State of Israel, with headquarters in Jerusalem, officially has been opened,” said the statement.

Most of the international community doesn’t recognize the Israeli developments in east Jerusalem and says the competing claims to the city should be resolved through negotiations. Most international embassies are in Tel Aviv.

Kosovo becomes the first European country and Muslim-majority one to establish its embassy in Jerusalem, following the U.S. and Guatemala.

Kosovo’s decision was taken when outgoing Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti met with Serb President Aleksandar Vucic at the White House in September with then-President Donald Trump.

“Setting of the plaques and the state flag at the Kosovo Embassy in Israel reflects the Government of Kosovo’s commitment to comply with the pledge for establishing the diplomatic mission to Jerusalem,” it said.

With the announcement, Kosovo becomes the third country with an embassy in the holy city. The U.S., under President Donald Trump, was the first country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, followed by Guatemala.