Israel and Kosovo have formally established diplomatic relations, following through on the decision for mutual recognition made in September 2020 and announced at the time at the White House.
Because of COVID 19 precautions, Kosovo Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabriel Ashkenazi signed the deal in a virtual ceremony on February 1. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price called it “a historic day:”
“Deeper international ties help promote stability, peace, and prosperity in both regions. When our partners are united, the United States is stronger.”
In the past year, several other Muslim-majority and Arab countries have established new ties with Israel, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan which normalized relations with Israel in the fall of 2020. In December, Morocco and Israel signed a joint declaration pledging cooperation in a number of areas and agreed to move to full diplomatic relations in the near future.
Spokesperson Price told reporters that the United States is hoping to build on the progress that has been made in normalizing relations with Israel and other countries.
“The United States will continue to urge other countries to normalize relations with Israel, and we’ll look for other opportunities to expand cooperation among countries in the region.”
He warned, however, that normalization between Israel and other countries is not a substitute for Israeli-Palestinian peace. “We hope,” he said, “that as Israel and other countries in the region join together in a common effort to build bridges and create new avenues for dialogue and exchange, these efforts contribute to tangible progress towards the goal of advancing a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”