Washington: President Donald Trump moved the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem in May, but other countries have not followed suit. Only two - Guatemala and Paraguay - have made the move themselves; the latter also moved its embassy back to Tel Aviv earlier this month.
Last week, another country signalled that it hoped to open an embassy in occupied Jerusalem, and surprisingly, it’s a Muslim-majority nation. But there’s an unexpected catch: Israel doesn’t recognise this nation.
Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci said on Thursday that were his country to have an embassy in Israel, he’d put it in occupied Jerusalem. “If Kosovo were recognised by Israel, I would open the Kosovo embassy in [occupied] Jerusalem,” Thaci explained during an interview with Vizion Plus in Albania.
A former paramilitary leader, Thaci has been president of Kosovo since 2016. Before that, he had been prime minister, unilaterally declaring the country’s independence from Serbia in 2008. The small Balkan country was at the centre of tension between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in the 1990s after the collapse of Yugoslavia, culminating in the Kosovo War in 1998 and 1999, which saw Kosovo Albanians supported by Nato allies.
The nation, which has a population of under 2 million, is recognised by a majority of UN member states. However, Serbia does not recognise it as an independent state, and many other nations, who have their own fears of separatist movements, have also refused to recogniSe it, including major powers like China, Russia and India.
The Israeli decision to not recognise Kosovo was based in part upon its own fears that Palestinians would use Kosovo to justify their own independence, the Jerusalem Post reported at the time. However, politicians in both countries have spoken warmly of their ties and hopes for a new relationship in the future.