Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Thursday that “Kosovo is our Jerusalem” at a lecture in Tel Aviv.
The ethnic Albanian leaders of Kosovo, Serbia’s southernmost province, plan to declare independence in the coming months.
The province has been administered by the United Nations since the 1999 ceasefire of a brutal war waged by Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic against ethnic Albanian separatists as well as the civilian population in Kosovo.
The United States and most of the 27 members of the European Union support Kosovo’s bid for independence, while Russia backs Serbia, which says it will never recognize an independent Kosovo.
Jeremic held meetings during his two-day visit to Israel with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Following the meetings, Jeremic said Israel would not recognize Kosovo as a country should it declare independence.
In interviews with JTA several weeks ago, an Israeli foreign ministry source said that although Israel would not be the first country to recognize Kosovo, it also would not be the last.