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Jordan's King Cancels Romania Visit Over Jerusalem Embassy Plan

Updated

Jordan's King Abdullah II (file photo)

Jordan's King Abdullah II has canceled a visit to Romania in protest at Prime Minister Vorica Dancila's announcement that Romania was planning to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Jordan's royal palace said that the decision to cancel the visit scheduled for March 25 came "in solidarity with Jerusalem."

Dancila made the announcement in a speech in Washington at the annual conference of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main pro-Israel lobby group in the United States, but later backtracked on her statement after drawing a strong rebuke from Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

"I as prime minster of Romania, and the government that I run, will move our embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel," she told AIPAC on March 24.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila speaks at the AIPAC conference on March 24.
Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila speaks at the AIPAC conference on March 24.

However, according to the Romanian Constitution, foreign-policy decisions need the ultimate approval of the president, and Iohannis reacted immediately, saying in a statement that Dancila "demonstrates once again her complete ignorance on foreign-policy issues."

Following Iohannis's rebuff, Dancila backpedaled from her previous statement in an interview with a Romanian TV station.

"I said that we must complete all constitutional steps first. I haven't said I will relocate the embassy. I said we must observe the constitution," the Romanian prime minister said.

"My opinion is that we must take this step. It is a personal opinion," Dancila added.

During his trip, Abdullah was expected to meet with President Klaus Iohannis and parliamentary leaders and sign a number of cooperation deals.

The United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last year, sparking international criticism as well as Palestinian and Arab anger.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and declared the entire city as its capital, a move not recognized by the international community.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Dancila's comments at the AIPAC conference, while the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) called the move a "blatant violation of Palestinian rights, international law, and UN resolutions."

With reporting by AP and AFP
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