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Kosovo’s top diplomat calls Jerusalem embassy ‘a done deal’

March 31, 2021 GMT

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s new foreign minister says she considers the opening of the country’s embassy in Jerusalem to be “a done deal.”

Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla was asked during an interview about the pressure Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has put on Kosovo’s new government to reconsider the Balkan nation’s recent opening of an embassy in Jerusalem.

“I believe that the issue of our embassy in Israel is a done deal. Why is it a done deal? Because we cannot get involved in diplomatic adventures to reconsider an issue that already has ended,” Gervalla said during the Tuesday night interview with online news site Kallxo.com.

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Gervalla said Kosovo wants to strengthen ties with Israel but also wants to have “a good friendship, good ties with Palestinian authorities.”

Kosovo established diplomatic ties with Israel on Feb. 1, and earlier this month became the first European country and the first Muslim-majority one to establish an embassy in the western part of Jerusalem.

The moves followed a White House summit Kosovo’s former prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, attended in September with then-U.S. President Donald Trump and Serbian President Aleksander Vucic.

The United States and Guatemala are the only other countries with embassies in Jerusalem. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed, as the capital of a future state. Most nations have their Israel embassies in Tel Aviv.

Erdogan asked Kosovo to reconsider in a letter of congratulation to Prime Minister Albin Kurti after he took office last week.

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Semini reported from Tirana, Albania.