The signing happened online because of the coronavirus pandemic
The partially recognized Balkan state of the Republic of Kosovo and Israel officially announced the establishment of diplomatic relations. The U.S. acted as a mediator to reach the agreements. The Muslim-majority Balkan state is expected to open its embassy in Jerusalem in the near future, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Balkan Editorial Board reported.
The foreign ministers of Kosovo and Israel signed a joint statement on February 1 in an online ceremony held simultaneously in Jerusalem and Pristina. This format of an important diplomatic event for both countries is related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
During the online ceremony, the signed documents were scanned and forwarded by both sides to each other via e-mail.
Kosovo Foreign Minister Melisa Haradinaj-Stubla said that establishing diplomatic relations would not have been possible without the “blessing and decisive participation of the United States.” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi thanked the U.S. for its role in reaching the agreement and called the event “an important, exciting historic step.”
Most Western states have recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia. Belgrade, Moscow, and Beijing refuse to do so. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO conducted a 78-day bombing campaign in Belgrade in a concerted effort to persuade Serbia to end hostilities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.