Serbia to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and Kosovo to normalize ties with Israel, Trump says


(JTA) — Serbia is moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and Kosovo is normalizing ties with the Jewish state, President Donald Trump said in a statement Friday.

Trump’s announcement said that Serbia would move its embassy by next July, mirroring Trump’s decision to do so in 2018. The country will also open a commercial office in the city, which the United States recognizes as Israel’s capital but most of the international community does not.

In addition, Kosovo will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, according to Trump’s statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Kosovo would also move its embassy to Jerusalem, which would make it the first Muslim country to do so.

Trump has made Israel a central part of his foreign policy, from moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli authority over the Golan Heights to releasing a peace plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace that was widely seen as favoring demands by the Jewish state.

Last month, Trump announced that he had brokered a historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Trump adviser Jared Kushner has suggested that other Arab states could follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead.

The news Friday accompanied another announcement that Serbia and Kosovo would establish economic ties. The Muslim-majority Kosovo declared its independence from the Christian-majority Serbia in 2008. A decade earlier, Albanian rebels from Kosovo fought Serbian forces in a war following the persecution of ethnic Albanians in Serbia.

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