Romanian PM to visit Israel

Romanian PM to visit Yad Vashem, Western Wall, during 2-day trip to Israel.

Tags: Romania

Viorica Dancila
Viorica Dancila

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila is due to visit Israel on Wednesday, for a two-day trip.

Dancila, from the leftwing Social Democrats (PSD), will have lunch with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu before visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, according to Israeli officials.

On Thursday she is due to visit the Western Wall and meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

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 Jerusalem.

The move would follow in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump, who in December of recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

According to Romanian media, Netanyahu has invited Dragnea to visit Israel "towards the end of the month" and welcomed his stance on the embassy question.

However, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who is from the center-right and has frequently clashed with the government, protested that he had not been informed and emphasized that any such move could only happen after Israel and the Palestinian Authority had agreed the status of Jerusalem amongst themselves.

Caught in the middle of the argument between the two men, Dancila has sought to reassure that her government was trying simply to create a "platform for discussions" on the possible transfer of the embassy.

Dragnea hopes that "the US will be less critical of the government's reforms" of the judiciary, political analyst Radu Magdin told AFP.

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 Palestinian Liberation Organisation under the leadership of archterrorist Yasser Arafat.