. In a historic virtual ceremony, the first of its kind, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi and Kosovo Minister of Foreign Affairs Meliza Haradinaj today (Monday, 1 february 2021), signed an agreement establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and Kosovo. At the end of the ceremony, FM Ashkenazi unveiled the plaque that will be placed at the entrance to the Kosovo embassy that will be established in Jerusalem.
FM Ashkenazi: “The establishment of relations between Israel and Kosovo is an important and exciting historical step that reflects the many changes the region has experienced in recent months. Today, Kosovo officially joins the circle of countries that strive for peace and stability and recognize Israel and Jerusalem as its capital.
“Kosovo's decision to join the circle of countries fighting antisemitism who have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism is conclusive proof of the important alliance between peoples and cultures. I sincerely hope that Kosovo will continue to operate in this way of peace and war against extremists, and will also work to recognize Hezbollah and all its branches as a terrorist organization.”
In addition to the document establishing the bilateral relationship, the two foreign ministers signed memoranda of understanding for policy consultations and an agreement for cooperation with MASHAV - Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation.
The ceremony was preceded by a bilateral meeting attended by the two foreign ministers and their professional teams, during which the Kosovo FM Haradinaj emphasized her country’s commitment to designating Hezbollah as a terror organization. In addition, she detailed her program to promote Holocaust remembrance education in Kosovo as well as care for Jewish cemeteries and the opening of a Jewish cultural center this year.
The virtual ceremony was also attended by Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the US State Department.
FM Ashkenazi thanked the US administration for its great contribution to the establishment of relations between Israel and Kosovo and added: “I thank the United States for its efforts to promote world peace and for promoting Israel's relations with countries with which we did not have diplomatic relations until recently. Israel wants to see a stable Balkans. If there is will on both sides, we will be happy to participate in the effort to establish confidence-building measures together with Kosovo and Serbia under the auspices of the United States.”
Photo .FM Ashkenazi unveiling the plaque that will be placed at the entrance
to the Kosovo embassy in Jerusalem. Photo: MFA.