אשכנזי עם השלט המיועד לשגרירות קוסובו
אשכנזי עם השלט המיועד לשגרירות קוסובו צילום: דוברות משרד החוץ

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Kosovo Foreign Minister Melissa Hardinai today signed an agreement to establish relations between Israel and Kosovo.

Due to the lockdown and COVID limitations, the arrival of the delegation from Kosovo to Jerusalem was canceled and the ceremony was held via Zoom.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said during the ceremony: "Establishing relations between Israel and Kosovo is an important and exciting historical step, reflecting the many changes the region has experienced in recent months. Today, Kosovo officially joins the circle of countries striving for peace and stability in Israel and Jerusalem.

"Kosovo's decision to join the circle of countries fighting anti-Semitism that have adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is conclusive proof of the important alliance between peoples and cultures. I sincerely hope that Kosovo will continue to act in this way of peace and war against extremists."

The ceremony was preceded by a meeting attended by the two foreign ministers and professional staff, during which the Kosovo Foreign Minister emphasized Kosovo's commitment to outlawing Hezbollah. In addition, she shared her program to promote Holocaust remembrance education and the preservation of Jewish cemeteries in Kosovo, along with opening a Jewish cultural center this year.

The virtual ceremony was also attended by Matthew Palmer, Deputy Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US State Department.

Foreign Minister Ashkenazi thanked the US administration for its great contribution to establishing relations between Israel and Kosovo and said, "I thank the United States for its efforts to promote world peace, and to promote Israel's relations with countries with which we have not had diplomatic relations until recently. Israel wants to see a stable Balkans. If there is will on both sides, we will be happy to take part in the effort to build trust-building means together with Kosovo and Serbia under the auspices of the United States. "

As part of the ceremony, and after the ministers signed the cooperation agreements, the two foreign ministries forwarded the agreements by e-mail to each other for further signature by the ministers.

The ceremony will conclude with a virtual unveiling ceremony and the two ministers will unveil the sign that will be placed at the entrance to the Kosovo Embassy in Jerusalem.

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