Israeli PM Hopes More EU Countries Will Relocate Embassies to Jerusalem

Friday, 18 January, 2019 - 19:30
Asharq Al-Awsat

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoped on Friday that more European Union countries will relocate their embassies to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu made the call during talks in Jerusalem with Viorica Dancila, the prime minister of Romania, which this month took over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union.

"I hope you will act to stop the bad resolutions against Israel in the EU, and also of course to move your embassy and other embassies to Jerusalem," he told Dancila in comments relayed by the Israeli premier's office. "We wait for you in Jerusalem."

Last year the Romanian government, supported by the speaker of its parliament, adopted a draft proposal to move the country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

That came after US President Donald Trump recognized the city as capital of Israel in May and moved Washington's embassy there, breaking with decades of diplomatic convention that the final status of the city should be the outcome of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

But Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who has frequently clashed with the government, opposed the Romanian move in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and called for Dancila's resignation, reported AFP.

During a visit to Jerusalem in April 2018, Dancila said she favored moving the embassy but had insufficient domestic support to do so.

Guatemala was the first country to follow in America's footsteps, and Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office on January 1, has said his country will also move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Australia in December recognized west Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but said it would not shift its embassy from Tel Aviv until a peace settlement is signed.

The status of the city, holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, is one of the thorniest of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel claims Jerusalem as its "undivided" capital, while Palestinians view Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Most countries agree that Jerusalem's status can only be settled through wider Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

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