Romanian president urges PM to quit in row over Israel Embassy move
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Romanian president urges PM to quit in row over Israel Embassy move

Klaus Iohannis says he was not informed in advance of secret memo adopted by the government last week with the aim of moving the mission from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with his Romanian counterpart Viorica Dancila at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on April 25, 2018. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with his Romanian counterpart Viorica Dancila at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on April 25, 2018. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis called Friday for the resignation of Prime Minister Viorica Dancila amid a row sparked by the possible move of the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“Mrs. Dancila is not up to the job of prime minister of Romania and as a result the government is becoming a liability for Romania. That is why I am publicly calling for Mrs. Dancila’s resignation,” Iohannis said in a short statement.

Iohannis pointed to a secret memorandum adopted by the government last week with the aim of moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He is opposed to the move and says he was not informed beforehand.

“This was a big error, because in foreign policy, if we’re talking about secret documents, the president should have been consulted,” Iohannis said.

Romania’s President Klaus Werner Iohannis gestures as he arrives for a European Union leaders summit at the European Council, in Brussels, October 20, 2016. (AFP/Thierry Charlier)

Iohannis has no constitutional power to fire the prime minister, who would have to be removed by parliament.

Dancila is the third prime minister in less than a year after power struggles within the ruling Social Democrat party (PSD) saw her two predecessors ousted.

The spat over the embassy is the latest in a serious of clashes between Iohannis, who is from the center-right, and the left-wing government.

On a two-day visit to Israel this week following the surprise embassy announcement, Dancila said that at this stage she did not have “support of all parties as we would wish” to carry out the move.

The Israel Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the reports.

Earlier this week, the president of the Czech Republic announced a three-stage plan to relocate the country’s diplomatic missions from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, starting next month with the appointment of an honorary consul in Jerusalem and concluding at an undetermined time with the relocation of the embassy.

Israeli politicians hailed Milos Zeman’s speech, despite the fact that as president, he has limited executive power. Acting Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is opposed to a full-fledged relocation of the embassy, saying he does not want to break with EU policy. It remained unclear if and when Prague’s missions would move to Jerusalem.

On December 6, US President Donald Trump bucked decades of US foreign policy by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and launching the diplomatic process to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. In February, the US administration announced that it would open its Jerusalem embassy in May 2018 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

Trump’s decision to move his country’s embassy, welcomed by Israel, has been condemned by many leaders and foreign ministers across the world, who have said the city’s status should be determined through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem — captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War — as their capital.

 

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