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Romanian President Warns Against Plan To Move Embassy To Jerusalem


Romanian President Klaus Iohannis

President Klaus Iohannis has sharply criticized plans announced by the head of Romania's ruling party to move the country's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Iohannis had "not been consulted or informed over this process," his office said in an April 20 statement.

Liviu Dragnea, the head of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), told a local television channel on April 19 that "the decision has been made" and that "procedures [for the move] have started."

Iohannis said the decision was "not based on firm, wide-ranging evaluations."

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila has not officially confirmed the news. However, Dragnea has been the party's key decision maker since it won a 2016 election, despite being barred from leading the government due to a previous suspended prison sentence for electoral fraud.

Iohannis said the authority to "make decisions relating to Romania's foreign policy" belongs to him.

"At this stage a transfer of the embassy would represent a violation of international law," Iohannis said.

U.S. President Donald Trump sparked controversy in December by announcing that the United States would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Romania would be the first EU country to follow suit.

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.

Based on reporting by AFP and The Jerusalem Post
*CORRECTION: A previous version of this story contained a photo incorrectly identified as Romanian President Klaus Iohannis