Serbia won’t move embassy if Israel recognizes Kosovo
Serbia’s agreement said that they would also open an embassy in Jerusalem. Earlier this year, Belgrade announced that it would open a trade office in the capital.
By LAHAV HARKOV
SEPTEMBER 9, 2020https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/serbia-wont-move-embassy-if-israel-recognizes-kosovo-641600
Israeli recognition of Kosovo as an independent country will strain relations with Serbia, despite it being in the framework of agreements the Balkan countries signed in the White House, a source close to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“Serbia will not move its embassy to Jerusalem if Israel recognizes Kosovo as an independent country,” according to the source, who has close knowledge of the agreements signed in Washington. “Moreover, this move by Israel would harm the otherwise intimate relationship between Israel and Serbia and it will never be the same. It’s that simple.”
The source added that “many have argued that Israel recognizing Kosovo would be akin to countries unilaterally recognizing ‘Palestine.’”
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade considers it to be an autonomous zone. Israel did not recognize Kosovo for over a decade, out of concern for damaging strong ties with Serbia and for setting a precedent for recognition of a Palestinian state.
Serbia and Kosovo signed separate agreements with the US at the same time, sitting on opposite sides of US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Friday. The agreements would allow for greater economic ties between the countries. Critics have said the content of the agreements does not progress Serbia-Kosovo ties, and consists of actions that it already pledged to take in EU-mediated talks.
In addition, the agreement with Kosovo stated that Israel would normalize ties with the Muslim-majority country, which would open an embassy in Jerusalem.
Serbia’s agreement said that they, too, would open an embassy in Jerusalem. Earlier this year, Serbia announced that it would open a trade office in the capital.
Serbia and Kosovo both seek to join the European Union, and Serbia has already begun negotiations on the matter. An EU spokesman said on Monday, regarding the agreements, that “any diplomatic steps that could call into question the EU’s common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret.”