Belgrade Upset over Israel's Recognition of Kosovo


Serbia's foreign minister said Tuesday the government was "not happy" with Israel's decision to recognise Kosovo, a former Serbian province whose statehood Belgrade denies and has waged a diplomatic battle to de-legitimise.

The reaction came a day after Israel and Kosovo established diplomatic ties, in what was a major victory for Pristina's efforts to gain full global recognition of the independence it declared in 2008 following a war with Serbia in the 1990s.

Kosovo has since been recognised by much of the Western world, but its rejection by Serbia's key allies Russia and China has locked it out of the United Nations. 

Until Monday, Israel was another key holdout on Belgrade's side.

"We have invested serious efforts in our relations with Israel in recent years and we are not happy with this decision," Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said Tuesday on public broadcaster RTS. 

Israel's move will "undoubtedly influence relations between Serbia and Israel," he added.

Since establishing ties in 1991, the countries have maintained good relations with growing Israeli investment in the Balkan state. 

In exchange for Israel's recognition, Kosovo also became the first Muslim-majority territory to recognise Jerusalem as the Jewish state's capital.

The deal was brokered last year by the administration of former US president Donald Trump. 

Since August 2020, Israel has normalised ties with four Arab nations under a series of deals brokered by the former US president, collectively known as the Abraham Accords. 

But the majority-Muslim parties to those accords -- the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan -- have all said their diplomatic missions will be in Tel Aviv, in line with a global consensus against recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital until the Palestinian conflict is resolved.

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