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Romanian President denies reports that country will move embassy to Jerusalem

April 23, 2018 3:55 P.M. (Updated: April 23, 2018 3:55 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis has denied plans announced publicly by its ruling party to move the nation’s embassy to Jerusalem, contradicting an announcement made by Liviu Dragnea- president of Romania’s chamber of deputies- last week.

Speaking with Romanian TV, Dragnea said the decision to relocate Romania’s embassy to Jerusalem had already been made. “The government has adopted a memorandum that decides to begin the procedures for moving the embassy [to Jerusalem].”

Dragnea went on to explain that the decision “has huge symbolic value for a state that has a tremendous influence in the world, with over 500,000 Romanians living in it, and is deeply valued by the U.S. administration.”

Shortly after Dragnea’s statement however, a statement from President Iohannis’ office was quickly issued in direct response, refuting the claims: “The President, as the maker of foreign policy decisions in Romania and as representative of Romania abroad in accordance with the constitutional provisions, reiterates that the constant position of our country regarding the Middle East Peace Process remains unchanged.” 

“The President of Romania reaffirms that Romania’s position on the status of Jerusalem remains in line with the one established by the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.”

As the statement explains, such a move, under the aforementioned resolutions of the UN Security Council would be deemed illegal. 

“The president would like to remind that there are a series of UN Security Council resolutions... requesting, among other things, that UN member states abstain from setting up diplomatic missions in Jerusalem… As a result, relocating Romania’s embassy would constitute breaking the relevant international law”

The premature announcement can be seen as the result of a diplomatic trip on behalf of Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, who flew to Romania on April 10th. During her stay in Romania she met both Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, and current foreign minister, Lazăr Comănescu, as well as Liviu Dragnea; the minister that was ultimately contradicted by the president. 

Hotovely tweeted her congratulations on April 19th to the Romanian speaker on “his announcement today that Romania will begin proceedings to transfer the Romanian embassy to Jerusalem.”

The statement offered by president Iohannis concluded with the statement of fact that “the final decision, from the constitutional point of view, belongs to the President of Romania.

President Iohannis' statement can be read in full here.

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