Serbia will not move its embassy to Jerusalem if Israel recognises Kosovo as an independent state, the Times of Israel reported yesterday.
According to the Israeli newspaper, a source close to the government in Belgrade warned that formal Israeli recognition of Pristina’s independence would “destroy” Israel’s relationship with Serbia.
“This could end up being a real mess, unless there is a compromise on what sort of relationship Israel will end up having with Kosovo,” the source told the Times of Israel.
“Diplomatic relations with Kosovo are one thing, recognition as an independent country is another thing entirely. This would destroy the Israel-Serbia relationship,” the Serbian source said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Friday that Kosovo and Israel had decided to “establish full diplomatic relations between the two countries,” the Times of Israel reported.
This came as part of an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo brokered by the US to normalise economic relations.
Serbia vowed to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 1 July 2021, the Israeli newspaper said, while Kosovo and Israel agreed to mutual recognition.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said it is Israel’s own decision to recognise Kosovo, but Arthur Koll, a former Israeli ambassador to Serbia, was reported saying: “Serbia’s transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem is conditioned on Israel’s respecting Serbia’s interests.”