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Kosovo, Israel Agree On Visa-Free Regime

Kosovo, Israel Agree On Visa-Free Regime

18.06.2024 17:42

Agreement enables Kosovo nationals to travel visa free to Israel, vice versa.

Kosovo and Israel signed an agreement Tuesday to allow a visa-free regime for Kosovars to travel to Israel for tourism.

The agreement signed in Pristina by Kosovo Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla-Schwarz and Israeli Minister Moshe Arbel enables Kosovo nationals to travel visa-free to Israel and vice versa.

Gervalla-Schwarz and Arbel did not disclose details about the agreement to the media but Kosovar officials said the deal will take effect as of Sept. 19.

"Welcome to Jerusalem (Quds)," Arbel said shortly after the agreement was signed.

Kosovo citizens can travel to the Schengen Area without a visa as of Jan. 1 for up to 90 days within 180 days.

Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 is not recognized by five EU members: Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and the Greek Cypriot administration.

The EU countries in question recognize the Republic of Kosovo travel documents.

In a controversial move, Kosovo in March 2021 announced it had opened an embassy in the flashpoint city of Jerusalem in exchange for Israel recognizing its independence.

Israel is the last country to recognize Kosovo's independence.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Mideast conflict, with Palestinians insisting that East Jerusalem -- illegally occupied by Israel since 1967 -- should serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Israel has been trying to convince countries to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

European Union member states have refused to do so pending a final agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians on the issue of the holy city.

Among EU states, only Hungary also has a diplomatic office in Jerusalem. -

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