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Kosovo to Israel: Recognize Us, Get Another Embassy in Jerusalem

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Yourway-to-israel / The Western Wall and Dome of the rock in the old city of Jerusalem
The Western Wall and Dome of the rock in the old city of Jerusalem - Sputnik International
Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaci, told the media on Thursday that if Israel recognized the Balkan secessionist state, he’d place its embassy in Jerusalem, an apparent offer of a tit-for-tat trade to bolster the legitimacy of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Kosovo as a legitimate state on the international stage.

Hefty portions of the world still do not recognize Kosovo as a state a decade since its unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 — 117 of the world's nearly 200 countries recognize independent Kosovo. When it comes to international bodies, however, Kosovo fares a bit better. Roughly 58 percent of countries in the United Nations (111), 82 percent of European Union members (23) and 86 percent of NATO member states (25) recognize Kosovo. 

Kosovo Serb caring Serbian flag during the protest against recognition of Kosovo as an independent state, in the northern Serb-dominated part of the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Monday, April 22, 2013 - Sputnik International
Kosovo Authorities Reject Plan to Exchange Territories With Serbia - Reports

Serbia remains on speaking terms with Kosovo after relations were partially normalized with the 2013 "Brussels Agreement," although neither party ever signed the document. President Thaci himself took part in those talks. The Russian Federation considers Kosovo's breakaway to be illegal.

"Kosovo is not an independent state, either de facto or de jure. It was separated from Serbia following the illegal 1999 NATO bombing [of Yugoslavia] and declared independent in 2008 in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244," columnist Nebojsa Malic told Sputnik News. The resolution placed Kosovo under the administration of the United Nations while it was still a part of Serbia.

"While the ethnic Albanian authorities in Pristina like to pretend they are independent, the US ambassador there makes sure they do exactly as told at all times," Malic said.

"The Republic of Kosovo's ties with the US are excellent. I met with President Trump, and his approach to us is the same as the previous president. The US supports Kosovo's future 100 percent," Thaci told Vizion Plus, a news organization in Albania.

"If Kosovo were recognized by Israel, I would open the Kosovo embassy in Jerusalem," Thaci added.

Israel (a country with its own problems in terms of international recognition, lacking it from 31 UN members), like China, Russia, Spain, India, Morocco, Ukraine and others, does not recognize Kosovo.

Prizren, Kosovo - Sputnik International
Dacic: EU Could Accept Partition of Kosovo If Belgrade, Pristina Reach Agreement

Thaci said that in relation to Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocation of the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, Kosovo would never vote against US interests. It isn't clear where Kosovo would have the opportunity to issue any dissenting votes against the US, as it is not a UN member. Kosovo has sought to join the UN, but Russian and Chinese opposition have thwarted its attempts. 

"This overture to Israel is a naked attempt to disassociate present-day Kosovo from the legacy of the Nazi 21st Waffen-SS Mountain Division 'Skanderbeg' and avoid facing responsibility for the mass ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians following NATO's occupation in 1999," Malic told Sputnik News.

Israel has urged other nations to follow in the footsteps of the Americans by moving their embassies to Jerusalem, however only Guatemala and Paraguay have done so. Paraguay's new administration, which came to power in August, quickly reversed the embassy move, going back to Tel Aviv, Sputnik News reported.

In a June speech, Czech President Milos Zeman joked that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had offered up his Jerusalem residence to him if the Czech Republic opened an embassy in the city.

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