Tag Archives: Kosovo

Serbia, Turkey slams Israel-Kosovo ties.

Advertisements

The embassy move in May the following year was celebrated in Israel but roundly criticised elsewhere.

Serbia’s foreign minister has expressed dismay over Israel’s decision to recognise Kosovo, a former Serbian province whose statehood Belgrade denies, saying officials were “not happy” with the development.

Advertisements

The reaction came a day after Israel and Kosovo established diplomatic ties under a deal brokered by the United States, marking a victory for Pristina’s efforts to gain full global recognition of the independence it declared in 2008 following a war with Serbia in the 1990s.

“We have invested serious efforts in our relations with Israel in recent years and we are not happy with this decision,” Serbian foreign minister Nikola Selakovic told public broadcaster RTS on Tuesday.

Israel’s move will “undoubtedly influence relations between Serbia and Israel,” he said.

Advertisements

Most Western countries have recognised Kosovo, but its rejection by Serbia’s key allies Russia and China has seen it locked out of the United Nations.

Until Monday, Israel was another key holdout on Belgrade’s side.

Since establishing ties in 1991, the countries have maintained good relations with growing Israeli investment in the small Balkan state.

Turkey weighs in on embassy plan
In exchange for Israel’s recognition, Kosovo recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, becoming the first Muslim-majority territory to do so.

Advertisements

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Monday confirmed he had approved Kosovo’s “formal request to open an embassy” in the city.

To date, only the US and Guatemala have opened embassies in Jerusalem, while Serbia, Malawi and Honduras have previously pledged to do the same.

Advertisements

Kosovo’s embassy plans drew criticism from Turkey, with Ankara saying the proposed move violated UN resolutions and international law.

“It is clear that any step towards this direction will not serve the Palestinian cause and undermine the vision of a two-state solution,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement on Monday.

US-brokered diplomatic deals

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the Palestinian Authority (PA) insisting that East Jerusalem – illegally occupied by Israel since 1967 – should serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Advertisements

There is a global consensus against recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until the Palestinian conflict is resolved.

In 2017, Trump shocked observers by saying the US would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognise the latter as the capital of Israel.

The incoming administration of President Joe Biden has said it will keep the US embassy in Israel in Jerusalem, and continue to recognise the city as Israel’s capital.

Under Trump, the US also brokered a number of deals to establish diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan..

Advertisements

Those agreements, known collectively as the Abraham Accords, were condemned by many majority-Muslim countries.

But unlike Kosovo, the Arab parties to the Abraham Accords have all maintained that their diplomatic missions in Israel will be in Tel Aviv.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

President Hashim Thaci resign, set to face war crimes court

Advertisements

In June, prosecutors accused him of ten counts of crimes including charges of murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci resigned Thursday to face trial in a war crimes court in The Hague, a dramatic downfall for a politician who has dominated the former Serbian province for over a decade.

The 52-year-old said he would step down to appear before the court after it confirmed an indictment against him dating back to the 1990s conflict with Serbia, when Thaci was political chief of Kosovo’s rebel army.

“I will not allow under any circumstances that I appear before court as the president of the Republic of Kosovo. Therefore, in order to protect the integrity of the office of the president and the country, as well as the dignity of the citizens, I resign from the position of president of the Republic of Kosovo,” Thaci told a press conference in the capital Pristina.

Advertisements

He has long insisted on his innocence in a war that most people in Kosovo, which is home mainly to ethnic Albanians, consider a “just” struggle for their independence from Serbian oppression.

“These are not easy moments for me and my family, and for those who have supported and believed in me in the past three decades of our struggle for freedom, independence and nation-building,” Thaci added.

Thaci did not say which specific charges had been confirmed, while the prosecutors declined to comment.

Set up with EU-backing in 2015, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) operates under Kosovo law but is based in The Hague to protect witnesses from intimidation in a society where many former rebel commanders still dominate politics.


#Newsworthy…