Jerusalem (AFP) – Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said Thursday that she favoured moving her country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but she had insufficent backing at home for such a move.
“We are conducting consultations on this topic with all institutions in Romania,” she said while meeting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem.
“This is our wish, but unfortunately we do not have support from all parties as we would like.”
Dancila, from the left-wing Social Democrats (PSD), met Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A statement from Netanyahu’s office said the two “discussed bilateral issues, strengthening cooperation and the holding of joint projects in — inter alia — security, health, technology and cyber defence.”
“Netanyahu expressed appreciation for the Romanian government’s approval of a draft decision on initiating the transfer of the Romanian embassy to Jerusalem and welcomed the statements of the president of the parliament in support of the move,” it said.
The visit comes days after PSD party chief Liviu Dragnea kicked off a political row in Romania by announcing the government’s “decision” to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem.
The move would follow in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump, who took the controversial decision in December of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
However, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who is from the centre-right and has frequently clashed with the government, protested that he had not been informed and emphasised any such move could only happen after Israel and the Palestinians had agreed the status of Jerusalem among themselves.
Caught in the middle of the argument between the two men, Dancila has said her government was trying simply to create a “platform for discussions” on the possible transfer of the embassy.
Romania was the only country in the former communist bloc to maintain relations with Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967.
Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu also maintained close ties to the Palestine Liberation Organisation under Yasser Arafat.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
It sees the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians want its eastern sector as the capital of their future state.