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United States brokers breakthrough economic deal between Serbia and Kosovo

The deal notably features new facets of both countries' relationship with Israel

Updated: September 4, 2020 - 2:29pm

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo on Friday formally agreed to normalize economic relations, at a White House meeting brokered by the by President Trump.

The signing of the deal took place at the Oval Office, where Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and the Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti made the deal official.

Trump, who sat between the leaders during the signing, said “Serbia and Kosovo have each committed to economic normalization ... . Economics can bring people together, and that’s what’s happening right here."

The breakthrough economic deal also came with new terms and conditions as the countries relate to Israel. Serbia committed to moving its embassy to Jerusalem, and Kosova says it will now recognize the Jewish state formally. 

"Let me also say how much we appreciate and welcome the important steps that both these countries are making, Mr. President, in the direction of recognizing Israel and moving embassies to Jerusalem as you have done,” said Vice President Pence.

The summit, initially arranged by then-acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, was supposed to take place in June. However, it was postponed as Kosovo's president, Hashim Thaci, was charged with war crimes. 

The deal between Serbia and Kosovo comes weeks after Trump and members of his administration brokered an historic deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize diplomatic relations between the two middle eastern nations.