Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Romania’s government has thrown its weights behind moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem al-Quds, drawing a warning from President Klaus Iohannis that the decision could violate international law.
“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.
Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Friday confirmed the approval of the memorandum but said its content was confidential and could not be made public yet.
“A memorandum has been approved at the government meeting. We will hold talks afterwards,” Dancila told reporters.
Romania would be among the first countries that agreed to transfer its embassy after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital in December, infuriating widespread international condemnation.
On December 6, Trump officially declared the disputed city of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital, despite warnings from around the world that the measure risks triggering a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East.
In a speech at the White House, Trump said his administration would also begin a process of moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city, which is expected to take years.
According to Romanian legislation, President Klaus Iohannis has the final say on embassy relocation but he said no consultation has been made with him about the issue.
In a statement, Iohannis urged government to show “responsibility and discernment on major foreign policy decisions that have strategic effects including on national security.”
“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,” the statement said.
“As a result, relocating Romania’s embassy would constitute breaking the relevant international law,” it added.
Romania’s foreign ministry said the memorandum was only the start of a wide consultation process and that it sought to find the best way for the country to position itself.
The ministry added that Bucharest’s stance on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict “has traditionally been a balanced one, including … bilaterally recognizing the Palestinian state.”
Guatemala President Jimmy Morales said in March that his country would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem al-Quds.
“Under my instructions, two days after the United States moves its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem,” Morales said in an address to the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential pro-Israeli lobbying group, in Washington.
Washington has set May 14 as the date for the inauguration of the new diplomatic premises.
The Palestinian foreign ministry in a statement strongly lambasted as “shameful” Guatemala’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds.
“It’s a shameful and illegal act that goes totally against the wishes of church leaders in Jerusalem [al-Quds]” and violated a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution, which denounced Washington’s provocative move, said the strongly-worded statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that “at least half a dozen” countries were considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem al-Quds.
The move by Trump received negative reaction from almost all of Washington’s allies, namely the European Union, Britain, Germany and France.
Even Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two of America’s closest allies in the region, could not hide their opposition.