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Kosovo follows US, Guatemala in opening embassy in Jerusalem

Workers drag the red carpet next to Kosovo's and Israel's flags displayed during a ceremony at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in Pristina on February 1, 2021. - Kosovo and Israel established diplomatic ties on February 1, 2021, with the Muslim-majority territory recognising Jerusalem as the Jewish state's capital, putting it at odds with the rest of the Islamic world. In a ceremony held over Zoom in Jerusalem and Pristina, Israeli Foreign Minister and his counterpart from Kosovo signed a joint declaration establishing ties. (Photo by Armend NIMANI / AFP) (Photo by ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images)
Workers drag the red carpet next to Kosovo's and Israel's flags displayed during a ceremony at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in Pristina on February 1, 2021 [ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images]

Kosovo opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem on Sunday, joining the United States and Guatemala as the only countries with embassies in a city whose status is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reports Reuters.

Muslim-majority Kosovo promised to locate its embassy in Jerusalem when it established diplomatic ties with Israel last year under US sponsorship.

Kosovo's Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that with the embassy's opening, "the pledge given in the Oval Office today is finally fulfilled".

Israel sees its new ties with Kosovo as part of its broader normalisation with Arab and Muslim countries under agreements sponsored by former US President Donald Trump.

Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the opening of Kosovo's embassy in Jerusalem contradicted UN resolutions and aimed to "weaken the Palestinian cause".

Read: EU warns Kosovo against opening embassy in Jerusalem

No date was immediately announced for a formal opening ceremony.

On Thursday, the Czech Republic opened a diplomatic office in Jerusalem, a branch of its embassy in Tel Aviv, a move that drew condemnation from the Palestinians and Arab League.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who with broad international backing want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as their capital.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 conflict in a move that has not won international recognition.

Read: Israel gives countries that recognise Jerusalem as its capital covid vaccine

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