Serbia is to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem while Balkan neighbour Kosovo is extending diplomatic recognition of Israel in a double boost brokered by the White House.
Kosovo, a Muslim majority nation formed from war and still fighting to legitimise its independence, also said it would establish its embassy in Jerusalem, despite the east of the city being claimed by Palestinians as their capital.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I thank my friend the president of Serbia… for the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to transfer his embassy there.”
The move is set to go ahead by July 2021.
In 2017 the United States said it would be moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, which garnered an international outcry. Several small economically-dependent states have since followed suit, but until Serbia’s announcement no European nation had done so.
Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner called the announcement “historic,” adding that his father-in-law’s administration was “making the world a safer and more peaceful place”.
Kosovo and Serbia have been enemies since the civil war in the 1990s but Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić have recently been in discussions with the White House over a deal sought by Trump’s team.
In April, Kosovo’s ousted PM Albin Kurti accused Trump loyalist and adviser Richard Grenell for pushing him from office in order to get his boss a diplomatic win with which to campaign ahead of the US election in November.