Tamar Ziv: Ukraine war has influenced in Balkans

Israel supports the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia but does not see any more active role for it in this direction. This is what Israel`s ambassador to Kosovo, Tamar Ziv, says in an interview for Radio Kosova. She says she expects the economic cooperation between the two countries to be strengthened in the future.

Radio Kosova: Israel is the latest country to recognize Kosovo's independence. During the past year, Kosovo and Israel have established diplomatic relations. In what direction do you think the relations between the two countries are developing?

Tamar Ziv: Kosovo and Israel have established diplomatic relations since February 2021 and for this, Israel feels good and is committed to deepening these relations between the two countries. Kosovo opened its embassy in Jerusalem, a month later, and we were very pleased and grateful for that. I started my work as an ambassador of Israel in Kosovo in April of this year. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and more since my nomination to the position of ambassador, we have started working on establishing relations in several directions. I think that one of the most important directions is the establishment and strengthening of economic and trade relations between our countries. I think there are many areas in which we can develop these relations. I am very satisfied with the opening of the Kosovo - Israel Development and Investment Corporation. This Chamber is working with the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo, but also other Chambers, to organize a meeting, we hope in November, of Kosovar businesses in Israel, and then we are also thinking about a visit of the Israeli delegation to Kosovo, at the beginning of the year 2023.

Radio Kosova: Do you think that Israel should have a more active role in solving the political problem between Kosovo and Serbia?

Tamar Ziv: I think Israel supports reaching an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. We hope that the two countries reach an agreement as soon as possible. But I am convinced that you are being helped enough by important partners such as the European Union and the United States of America. Therefore, I do not think that Israel has anything to add to this matter, behind which powerful states stand.

Radio Kosova: Kosovo is one of the few countries that has opened its embassy in Jerusalem. It was even harshly criticized by the European Union and Turkey for this. Can Israel be expected to open its embassy ​​or at least a consulate in Kosovo?

Tamar Ziv: Yes, of course! But this is a process. I think we need to start working on establishing relationships, raising content, and increasing economic relations. And I think that will come later. As for the issue of visas for Kosovars who want to come to Israel, it is something we are working on and we hope that within the next few months we will have something concrete in this direction.

Radio Kosova: After the war in Ukraine, have we seen an increased influence of China and Russia in the Balkans? How do you see these developments that have affected Europe?

Tamar Ziv: All countries are affected by this global policy that was created after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Balkans is affected by this crisis, along with the Middle East, and the Far East, so we are all affected by this crisis. So this is a big global issue that has its effects in different parts of the world and different ways.

Radio Kosova: After the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Kosovo - Israel Development and Investment Corporation was opened in Kosovo. Is Kosovo a market in which Israeli companies would invest?

Tamar Ziv: I think so because Israeli companies have already invested in Kosovo, even before diplomatic relations between the two countries were established. Many Israeli entrepreneurs are working in Kosovo. For example, a very interesting field is that of renewable energy, where an Israeli company together with a German company created wind turbines, through which energy is created in Kosovo. So I think that different areas are potential for investment, such as water production, agriculture, construction, etc. So, I see many possibilities for cooperation and developments that can be made between the companies of both countries.

Radio Kosova: Israel has supported several charitable organizations in Kosovo. Will this support continue in the future for Kosovo?

Tamar Ziv: We are trying to do as much as we can. I am happy that we managed to donate 90 chairs to children with special needs. I think this is a good initiative. Now we are thinking about how we will work in other areas, for instance with people with special needs. We are already in contact with the Ministry of Health to work in this direction. I hope that within the next few months, Israeli experts will arrive in Kosovo to cooperate with the Ministry of Health, in different fields. So, we are working in these areas.

Autor: Radio Kosova