Romania to move Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, says ruling party

A final embassy relocation decision rests with Romanian President Iohannis, who said he had not been consulted.

    The Romanian government has approved a memorandum to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democrats said.

    If confirmed, the move would put Romania among the first countries to take this step after the United States. US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December and announced the upcoming move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    Trump’s decision infuriated Arab allies and dismayed Palestinians who see the East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

    According to Romanian law, President Klaus Iohannis has the final say on the relocation before it is confirmed. Iohannis said he was not consulted, while the Romanian government and foreign ministry did not immediately confirm the information.

    “Yesterday, the government adopted a memorandum deciding to start the procedure to effectively move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Social Democrat leader and lower house speaker Liviu Dragnea told private television station Antena3 late on Thursday.

    Dragnea keeps a tight grip on his party and is seen as effectively in charge of the cabinet.

    ‘Not consulted’

    President Iohannis said in a statement on Friday that he had not been informed or consulted about the decision and urged all government and political actors to show “responsibility and discernment regarding major foreign policy decisions that have strategic effects, including on national security”.

    “Such a decision must be taken only after consulting and securing the approval of all foreign policy and national security institutions, with a final decision belonging to the president, according to the constitution.”

    On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “at least half a dozen” countries were considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem. The US embassy is due to relocate on May 14.

    “Our gesture has a huge symbolic value … for Israel, a state with an unbelievably large influence in the world and with which we have had a special relationship for many years,” Social Democrat leader Dragnea said.

    “Moving the embassy to Jerusalem can and I believe will bring short, medium and long-term benefits for Romania, and we must use this huge chance and opportunity.”

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