Turkey-backed Kosovo to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel next week

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla says her country will establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel next week.

In a statement released on Friday, Haradinaj-Stublla announced that she will hold a virtual signing ceremony with her Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, on February 1 after a deal brokered by the US last year.

“Recognition by Israel is one of the greatest achievements for Kosovo, coming at a key moment for us, thanks to the United States of America, our common and eternal ally,” she said.

“It is a perpetuation of the long friendship between our peoples.”

Muslim-majority Kosovo and the occupying Israeli regime recognized each other in September 2020 at a summit of Kosovo-Serbia leaders at the White House in the presence of then US president Donald Trump.

At the time, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Tel Aviv and Pristina had agreed to forge diplomatic ties and that Kosovo, along with Serbia, would open embassies in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaçi described the announcement as “the genuine intention to recognize Kosovo and establish diplomatic relations.”

During the final months of Trump’s presidency, Israel also normalized ties with four Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

Palestinians have condemned the “peace pacts” as an act of treason and a stab in the back in their struggle against the Israeli occupation.

Israel, Morocco to exchange delegations

In another development on Friday, Israeli security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat spoke on the phone with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and the two agreed to exchange delegations in February to advance their normalization accord.

A high-level Moroccan delegation will visit the occupied territories at the end of next month and an Israeli delegation will visit the North African country also in February, depending on the coronavirus situation, the Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Ben-Shabbat and Bourita also agreed to establish “joint working groups” to promote bilateral cooperation in a variety of areas, including investments, transportation, water, environment, energy and tourism.

Morocco normalized relations with Israel after Washington agreed to recognize Rabat’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

Earlier this week, Israel’s chargé d’affaires arrived in Rabat, 20 years after the Tel Aviv regime closed its liaison office in Morocco.

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