Israel and Kosovo Establish Diplomatic Relations

Kosovo Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj Stubla and her Israeli counterpart Gabriel Ashkenazi signed on Monday (01.02) to establish diplomatic ties via video link due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

The signing ceremony was held in Pristina and Jerusalem, while the documents would be exchanged later. 

Israel recognized Kosovo’s independence on September 4, during the White House meeting chaired by the then US President Donald Trump and participated by Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdulah Hoti. 

Kosovo’s first ambassador to Israel will be Ines Demiri.

Croatia Demands an Apology from Serbia for Calling Knin “Serbian Occupied Town”

Croatia demanded an apology from Serbia on Thursday, January 28th, after a member of a Serbian delegation referred to Knin as “Serbian and occupied” and expressed hope that the Serbian flag would again fly over it. 

Milos Stojkovic, a humanitarian worker and the theologian was in a delegation led by the state secretary of the Serbian Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government who visited Serb communities in the Sibenik-Knin County on the occasion of a Serbian religious holiday. 

While climbing on the Knin Fortress, Stojkovic filmed a video in which he greeted his friends from the “Serbian occupied territory.” 

“We are in our Krajina again, this is Knin, long live Serbia”, he said. 

The video, originally posted on Facebook, was later removed. 

“Here they celebrate the so-called Operation Storm, the pogrom of the Serbian people, and we are here to show them as much as we can that this here is still the Serbian Krajina”, Stojkovic said, pointing the camera towards the top of the fortress and saying: “There on the top is their flag, God willing we will fly ours one day, this is occupied Serbian Knin.” 

From 1991 to 1995 Knin was the center of the so-called Republic of Serbian Krajina, a breakaway territory under the control of local Serbs who rebelled against the Croatian authorities. The town was liberated in August 1995 in a military offensive dubbed Operation Storm. 

The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has strongly condemned this “scandalous act and message that grossly insults Croatia and promotes the defeated ideas of a Greater Serbia.” 

The ministry expressed regret that such unacceptable statements were made by a person who was part of the official Serbian delegation, “for which we expect an official apology and unequivocal distancing”, it said in a statement, adding that it would send a protest note to Serbia. 

The incident was also condemned by Knin Mayor Marko Jelic.