Israel, Kosovo form ties via Zoom

The world’s first peace treaty to be formalized in an virtual ceremony took place between Israel and Kosovo today.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi presided over the event with his Kosovar counterpart Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla via the Zoom videoconferencing platform.

The two countries agreed to mutual recognition on 4 September 2020 in a deal brokered by the administration of former United States President Donald Trump.

US State Department representative to the Balkan region Matthew Palmer represented Washington during the ceremony.

The ongoing 3rd nationwide coronavirus lockdown in Israel prevented the two ministers to meet in person to finalize the accord. Copies of two bilateral cooperation agreements signed during the event pertaining to diplomatic relations and Israel’s Mashav international development agency will be emailed.

Acccording a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the ceremony was concluded with the unveiling of a sign at the entrance to the future Kosovar embassy in Jerusalem. The even was broadcast live on the Foreign Ministry’s Facebook page, and will be added to the account’s Timeline.

Kosovo is only the third world nation to open a diplomatic compound in the Israeli capital, following the US and Guatemala. It will also be the first Muslim-majority country to do so.

The diplomatic breakthrough with Kosovo came amid other historic agreements mediated by the Trump White house between Israel with the United Arab Emirates ,  Bahrain, Sudan, Bhutan and Morocco.

The Jerusalem-Pristina accord was announced as part of negotiations for the Kosovo and Serbia Economic Normalization. Then-President Trump declared that Serbia had also “committed to opening a commercial office in Jerusalem this month [September 2020] and to move its embassy to Jerusalem in July [2021],” which he called “fantastic” and “a big thing;” but there has yet to be progress on this front.