BUCHAREST – The Romanian government has approved a proposal to relocate the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The move was announced by Liviu Dragnea, the Speaker of the Lower House and leader of the Social Democratic party. Prime Minister Viorica Dancila confirmed that the measure has been approved, but there are still some hurdles yet to be overcome.
Under Romanian law the ultimate decision to establish or relocate an embassy resides with the President. If approved, Romania would be the third country to follow the lead of the United States which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December and is scheduled to formally open its new embassy in the city on 14 May 2018 as Israel commemorates its 70th anniversary.
Guatemala and Honduras have recently announced that they would be moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated this week that “at least half a dozen” countries were considering a similar move. Guatemala’s Jerusalem embassy is slated to open on 16 May 2018. One source has indicated that the Czech Republic will be the next country to announce the move to Jerusalem.
Dragnea said that gesture by Romania 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.”
However, current Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has expressed some concerns that approving the embassy in Jerusalem may have serious “strategic effects on national security.” His primary concerns seem to be how to maintain the balancing act between relationships with Israel and the so-called Palestinian state.
He noted that the move could put Romania in violation of one or more UN Security Council resolutions that request, “among other things, that UN member states abstain from setting up diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.” His statements are somewhat similar in content to those of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah who told Romanian officials this week that “such a step would constitute a violation of the rights of the Palestinians and would be contrary to international resolutions.”
Prime Minister Dancila indicated that the approval was the beginning of a process that would require continued review. Romania’s Foreign Minister agreed that the country would “assess the situation and positively consider the issue.”
- The Jerusalem Post, Romania to Move its Embassy to Jerusalem
- Reuters, Romania govt supports moving embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, president concerned
- Israel National News, Romania to relocate embassy to Jerusalem
- I24 News, Honduras passes motion backing Jerusalem embassy relocation