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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
Israeli PM announces move after Serbia and Kosovo agreed on historic pact at White House to normalise economic ties.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Serbia will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, becoming the first European country to follow the United States in making the move.
Most diplomatic missions in Israel have been in Tel Aviv as countries stayed neutral over the disputed city of Jerusalem until its status could be settled in an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
But in December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the shifting the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
On Friday, Netanyahu revealed Serbia’s move, adding that the transfer will happen by July 2021.
“I thank my friend the president of Serbia … for the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to transfer his embassy there,” Netanyahu said.
“I would like also to thank my friend President Trump for contributing to this achievement.”
News of the move by Serbia, not a member of the 27-nation EU, coincided with the announcement by Trump that former foes Serbia and Kosovo had agreed on an historic pact to normalise economic relations.
Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official slammed Serbia’s decision, saying it makes “Palestine a victim” of Trump’s re-election hopes.
“Palestine has become a victim of the electoral ambitions of President Trump, whose team would take any action, no matter how destructive for peace … to achieve his re-election,” said Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in a tweet.
“This, just like the UAE-Israel agreement [to normalise diplomatic ties], isn’t about Middle East Peace,” he added.
Israel seized control of East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in moves never recognised by the international community.
It considers the city its undivided capital, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) sees the occupied eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City with its holy sites, as the capital of their future state.
The United Nations and the European Union, Israel’s top economic partner, say the city’s final status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians, before which countries should not locate their embassies there.
Netanyahu also announced that Israel had set up diplomatic relations from Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
“Kosovo will become the first majority-Muslim country to open an embassy in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “As I’ve said in recent days – the circle of peace and recognition of Israel is expanding and more countries are expected to join.”
Disputed city Trump’s decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem three years ago triggered Palestinian outrage and a diplomatic shockwave.
So far, only Guatemala followed in his footsteps, also opening up its diplomatic mission in the holy city in May 2018.
Friday’s announcement also comes less than a month after Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalise ties under a US-brokered deal.
The agreement, expected to be signed at a White House ceremony in the coming weeks, would be Israel’s first with a Gulf nation, and the third with an Arab country after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994).
The issue of Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes Islam’s third holiest site – the golden Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
It is also home to the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews are allowed to pray, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried.
More than 200,000 Israeli settlers live in occupied East Jerusalem, which is home to about 300,000 Palestinians.
Serbian president says Belgrade may be locked down because of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.
A group of opposition supporters stormed the Serbian parliament building in Belgrade on Tuesday night in a protest against a lockdown planned for the capital this weekend to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday evening that stricter measures including the lockdown of Belgrade over the weekend would be introduced because of the rising number of coronavirus infections.
After Vucic’s statement, several thousand people began gathering in front of the parliament in Belgrade’s central square. Around 10pm local time, a small group of protesters pushed past a police cordon, broke through a door and entered the parliament building. But police later pushed them back.
Serbia, a country of 7 million people, has reported 16,168 coronavirus infections and 330 deaths. But the numbers are spiking and 299 cases and 13 deaths were reported on Tuesday alone.
• Greece shuts border to Serbians after virus spike •
Greece announced on Sunday the closure of its frontier for Serbian nationals until July 15 because of a coronavirus spike.
Serbia declared a state of emergency on Friday in the capital Belgrade because of the highest rise of coronavirus cases since April.
Greece had made its decision after analysing the epidemiological data, said government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni.
• Philippines records highest single-day jump in new cases •
The Philippines reported its biggest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases, adding 2,434 confirmed infections and taking the total count to 44,254, the health ministry said.
The ministry said the rise could be attributed to increased contact among people as the country began easing lockdown measures to help reduce the pandemic’s damage to the economy.
The Philippines also recorded seven new deaths, the ministry said, bringing total fatalities to 1,297.
• Fresh Spanish virus outbreak sees 70,000 locked down •
Spain’s northwestern Galicia region ordered the lockdown of 70,000 people amid fears of a fresh coronavirus outbreak, following a larger one in the northeast.
All residents of the town of La Marina, 140 kilometres (90 miles) east of La Coruna, will be unable to leave the vicinity and gatherings of more than ten people will be banned to limit the possibility of contagion.
The move came only a day after regional officials put 200,000 people back in confinement following a “sharp rise” in infections near the northeastern town of Lerida some 150 kilometres (90 miles) west of Catalan regional capital Barcelona.
• COVID-19: US diplomats leaving Saudi Arabia •
As countries around the world prepare to battle a looming second wave of coronavirus infections, many United States diplomats are following hundreds of US citizens repatriated over the past few months.
Dozens of US diplomats, along with their families, have left Saudi Arabia in the past 48 hours as the kingdom struggles to contain the outbreak, just weeks after it reopened its economy, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Friday.
• Morocco reports record number of novel coronavirus cases •
Morocco reported Sunday 698 additional novel coronavirus infections, the highest one-day increase since the outbreak began in early March, with numerous cases discovered in a port city factory.
The new figures bring the official total in the North African kingdom to 14,132 infections and 234 deaths, according to the health ministry.
The majority of the new infections were detected in a fish canning factory in the southern port city of Safi.
• Ireland to ease foreign travel restrictions from July 20 •
Ireland is to ease quarantine restrictions on people travelling from abroad on July 20, with people from a “green list” of countries with low COVID-19 rates to be exempt from isolating themselves for 14 days, transport minister Eamon Ryan said.
Former prime minister Leo Varadkar in June said that the restrictions would be eased from July 9.
“A so-called green list… will be published on July 20,” Ryan said in an interview with Newstalk radio station.
• Madagascar re-imposes lockdown amid surge in virus cases •
Madagascar has placed its capital Antananarivo under a fresh lockdown following a new surge in coronavirus infections, two months after the restrictions were eased, the presidency announced.
“The Analamanga region (under which the capital is situated) is returning to full lockdown,” the presidency said in a statement.
No traffic will be allowed in or out of the region starting Monday until July 20.
• South Africa reports over 10,000 cases in one day •
South Africa is reporting more than 10,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases for the first time in a single day.
That brings the country’s total confirmed cases to more than 187,977, by far the most of any country in Africa.
South Africa also has surpassed the deaths of 3,000 people in the outbreak.
• Iran reports new record one-day virus death toll of 163 •
Iranian health authorities announced 163 new deaths due to the COVID-19 disease, the country’s highest official one-day death toll since the outbreak began in February.
The previous record of 162 deaths was announced on Monday in the Islamic republic, which has been battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak.
• COVID-19: Top Egyptian actor Ragaa al-Gedawy dies •
Famed Egyptian actor Ragaa al-Gedawy died after contracting the COVID-19 disease, the actors union said. She was 81.
“Ragaa al-Gedawy passed away this morning due to COVID-19,” union head Ashraf Zaki told AFP news agency.
“No public funeral was arranged for health reasons,” Zaki added.
• COVID-19: Cases rising in Saudi Arabia, UAE after curfews lifted •
Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus infections have surpassed 200,000 and neighbouring United Arab Emirates 50,000, with the number of new cases climbing after the Arab world’s two largest economies fully lifted curfews last month.
Restrictions had been in place in both countries since mid-March and their gradual lifting has allowed commercial businesses and public venues to reopen.
Other Gulf countries have also moved to ease restrictions, although Kuwait has maintained a partial curfew and Qatar, Bahrain and Oman did not impose one at all.
• Indonesia reports highest daily tally of coronavirus deaths •
Indonesia reported 82 new coronavirus deaths in its highest daily tally, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said, taking the toll to 3,171.
Infections rose 1,607, for a total of 63,749 cases, he added.
Indonesia children at risk as COVD-19 disrupts vaccination drives
• Health minister says pleased with behaviour after English pubs reopen •
People in England appear to have broadly behaved themselves as pubs reopened this weekend, Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said, adding he was pleased with how the easing of lockdown had gone.
“From what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary, very, very largely people have acted responsibly,” he told Sky News. “Overall, I’m pleased with what happened yesterday.”
• COVID-19: Israel, Palestinians face new restrictions •
Israel ordered thousands of people into quarantine after a contentious phone surveillance programme resumed as Palestinians in the West Bank returned to life under lockdown after both areas saw surges in coronavirus cases.
A statement from Israel’s Health Ministry said “many” messages had been sent to Israelis following the renewed involvement of the Shin Bet domestic security agency. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that more than 30,000 people were notified they must enter quarantine since Thursday.
“We wanted to continue and open the economy as much as possible but with the amount of infections, which appeared like a very high cliff, it forced us at this point to get involved more aggressively,” Israel’s defence minister, Benny Gantz, told Israeli Army Radio.
Hebron closed to entry and exit due to COVID-19
• COVID-19: Russia cases surpass 680,000 •
Russia reported 6,736 new cases of the novel coronavirus, raising the nationwide tally to 681,251.
The authorities said that 134 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 10,161.
• COVID-19: Tokyo governor favoured to win re-election for handling virus •
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is poised to be re-elected, buoyed by public support for her coronavirus handling despite a recent rise in infections that has raised concerns of a resurgence of the disease.
The first woman to head the Japanese capital, Koike, 67, is also viewed as a potential candidate to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when his term ends in September 2021. For now, she says she is focused on protecting the lives of the 14 million people in Tokyo, a megacity with a $1 trillion economy.
• COVID-19: WHO reports highest single-day surge in infections •
The World Health Organization says member states reported more than 212,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to the global body, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.
The Geneva-based WHO said the highest number of new infections was reported from the Americas region, which includes the United States and Brazil, with almost 130,000 confirmed cases.
WHO’s count can differ from other global case tallies due to official reporting delays.
• COVID-19: Nearly 25,000 cases in India record daily jump •
India saw its biggest surge in COVID-19 cases, with 24,850 new cases and 613 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The country’s tally of infections rose to 673,165 as the death toll increased to 19,268, according to health ministry data.
• COVID-19: Turkish Airlines resumes flights to Indonesia •
Turkey’s flag carrier resumed flights to Indonesia after being suspended on March 20 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Turkish Airlines will resume routes to Indonesia with two flights per week.
• COVID-19: Croatia votes for new government •
Croatians went to polls to choose a government to navigate the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in a general election campaign that has been dominated by the health crisis.
The pandemic has put the European Union country’s tourism-dependent economy on course for a contraction of nearly 10 percent – its steepest decline in decades.
The ruling conservative HDZ party has been touting its relative success in containing Croatia’s outbreak so far, with an official tally of roughly 100 deaths and 3,000 infections.
Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia.
• COVID-19: Bolivia struggles •
The rising toll of COVID-19 deaths is overwhelming the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, where desperate relatives of one apparent victim of the new coronavirus left his coffin in the street for several hours to protest against difficulties in getting him buried.
Neighbour Remberto Arnez said the 62-year-old man had died on June 28 and his body had been in his home ever since “but that’s risky because of the possible contagion”.
After a few hours, funeral workers showed up and took the coffin to a cemetery in the city of some 630,000 people.
The Andean nation has reported more than 36,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,320 deaths.
• Australia’s Victoria state reports 74 new cases •
The hard-hit Australian state of Victoria has recorded 74 new coronavirus cases on Sunday after announcing a record 108 new infections a day earlier.
The latest increase resulted in state Premier Daniel Andrews announcing a lockdown of nine inner-city public housing blocks containing 3,000 people, where 27 cases have been detected.
Police are guarding every entrance of the housing estates and residents are not allowed to leave their homes for any reason. Australia had more than 8,400 cases and 104 deaths as of Sunday.
The Associated Press news agency is quoting a Montana newspaper as reporting that the wife and the running mate of Republican governor candidate Greg Gianforte, as well as several other top Republican officials, were possibly exposed to the coronavirus while attending an event with the girlfriend of President Donald Trump’s eldest son.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle says Gianforte’s wife, Susan, and lieutenant governor candidate Kristen Juras were at a Trump fundraising event Wednesday with Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr.
The New York Times reports that Guilfoyle was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Friday. Greg Gianforte is a congressman from Montana. He did not attend the event.
• COVID-19: Germany’s confirmed cases rise by 239 to 196,335 •
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 239 to 196,335, Reuters reported on Sunday citing data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
• COVID-19: Reported death toll rose by 2 to 9,012, the tally showed •
Singapore reports eight new ‘unlinked’ cases Singapore’s The Straits Times reported early on Sunday that an 82-year-old Singaporean woman is among eight new unlinked community cases that were announced the previous day.
The woman was confirmed to have the virus on Saturday after showing symptoms last Wednesday.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 185 new coronavirus cases in Singapore on Saturday, bringing the total to 44,664. Of the 185 new cases, eight were reported with no known previous links to an infected person, including the 82-year-old woman.
Singapore has managed to keep its death toll low at 26.
• COVID-19: South Korea reports 61 new cases •
South Korea’s daily new virus cases stayed above 60 for the third consecutive day Sunday as infections outside the Seoul metropolitan area continued to swell, Yonhap news agency reported.
The country added 61 cases, including 43 local infections, raising the total caseload to 13,091, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). At least 18 of the cases were imported.
The country, however, reported no additional deaths, with the death toll staying at 283.
• COVID-19: China reports eight new active cases, seven asymptomatic patients•
China reported eight new coronavirus cases in the mainland for July 4, compared with three cases a day earlier, Reuters news agency reported on Sunday, quoting the health agency.
Six of the new infections were imported cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, while the capital Beijing reported two new cases. There were no new deaths.
China reported seven new asymptomatic patients, up from four a day earlier.
As of Saturday, mainland China had 83,553 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. China’s death toll from the COVID-19 remained at 4,634, unchanged since Mid-May.
• COVID-19: Mexico’s death toll surpasses 30,000 •
Mexico’s health ministry has reported 523 more deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 30,366, and 6,014 new infections, bringing the total to 252,165.
The government has previously said the actual number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the number of confirmed cases.
Citing unpublished figures from the country’s civil registry, broadcaster Milenio reported that as of June 19, nearly twice as many people had died from the coronavirus than were reported by Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell. Reuters news agency was unable to verify the information.