Kosovo’s deputy foreign minister, citing his country’s record of ethnic Albanians protecting Jews during the Holocaust, urged American Jewish groups to press Israel for recognition of the country.
In a meeting with Jewish officials in Washington, Petrit Selimi also noted that Kozovo’s pro-American tilt made relations between the two countries a natural.
“With such a deep, historic link, it’s only natural to have Israeli recognition,” Selimi told JTA. “Israel is not just a country; it is an important country, influential in the community of nations.”
Also present at the meeting were representatives of B’nai B’rith International, the Anti-Defamation League and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Selimi also met with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, who over the years has spearheaded congressional support for Kosovo.
Israel has resisted recognizing Kosovo in part because of fierce Russian resistance to its independence in 2008 and because of close Israeli ties to Serbia. Nonetheless, there have been signs in recent months that Israel may be more open to ties with Kosovo.