Romania, Honduras Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Romania, Honduras Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila. (Frederick Florina/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM—The leaders of Romania and Honduras announced on March 24 that they will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, following the lead of President Donald Trump.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez delivered their announcements at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference (AIPAC)in Washington. The announcements were welcomed by Israeli politicians.

“I, as prime minister of Romania, and the government I lead, will move our embassy to Jerusalem,” Dăncilă said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

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Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)

“Our support of the State of Israel and the Jewish community is constant. I am determined to contribute to closer relations between Israel and the entire European Union, particularly now, when Romania is holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union,” she said.

However, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, a government rival who’s in charge of the East European nation’s foreign policy, said the prime minister hadn’t consulted with him over the decision. He accused her of “total ignorance” of foreign policy.

The move is considered controversial as it goes against the rest of the European Union. Romania currently holds the bloc’s rotating presidency.

Dăncilă was in Jerusalem in January and talked about shifting embassy there as well. In April, the Romanian government passed a memorandum to shift the embassy to Jerusalem but President Iohannis had objected, saying it could happen only after Israel and Palestine reach a peace agreement.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu congratulated Dăncilă on Sunday for her announcement. He said in a tweet: “I congratulate my friend, the Prime Minister of Romania, Viorica Dancila, on her announcement at AIPAC that she would act to complete the procedures needed to open the Romanian embassy in Jerusalem.”

At AIPAC, Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández said on the new year he had a talk with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and “our three countries issued a joint statement announcing an action plan that will culminate with Israel opening its embassy in our capital Tegucigalpa and at the same time, reciprocally, the Honduras Embassy will be moved to the capital of Israel, the city of Jerusalem.”

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Honduras’ president Juan Orlando Hernandez (Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images)

“Here, at AIPAC today, I want to announce the first very important step. Honduras will immediately open an official diplomatic mission in Jerusalem and this will extend our embassy to the capital of Israel—Jerusalem,” he said.

Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy to the city, a move that was applauded by Israel. Guatemala followed suit.

The move angered Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

Most countries have embassies in Tel Aviv out of sensitivity over the contested city. The Palestinians and most of the international community say the city’s final status should be resolved in negotiations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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