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King cancels Romania visit over PM vow to relocate embassy to Jerusalem

Economic institutions scrap scheduled business forum in Bucharest in solidarity with Jerusalem

By Mohammad Ghazal , JT - Mar 25,2019 - Last updated at Mar 25,2019

Franciscans friars leave the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection, in the Old City of Jerusalem after night prayer on Sunday (AFP photo)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah has decided to cancel a visit to Romania that was scheduled to start on Monday, in solidarity with Jerusalem, following Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s remarks on Sunday, expressing the intention to move her country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

King Abdullah’s visit to Romania, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, had been planned to include meetings with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and parliament leaders, a Royal Court statement said.

His Majesty had also been scheduled to participate in the Aqaba meetings, which had been planned to be hosted by Romania in partnership with Jordan, according to the statement.

On the sidelines of the visit, the Jordanian and Romanian governments had been due to sign an agreement, two memorandums of understanding, and a cooperation programme, while a Jordanian-Romanian business forum had been planned to be held, with the participation of private sector representatives from the two countries.

On Monday, economic institutions decided to cancel the Jordanian business forum and all other meetings that were slated to be held in Bucharest, in protest against the Romanian decision, The Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

President of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce Nael Kabariti said that a meeting held earlier on Monday in Bucharest, in the presence of 54 Jordanian economic figures, discussed the Dăncilă’s decision, adding that that after the discussions, a unanimous decision was made that all events on the agenda of the visit between representatives of both countries’ private sectors be cancelled.

President of the Jordan Chamber of Industry and Amman Chamber of Industry Fathi Jaghbir announced his withdrawal earlier in the day from participating in the forum, in condemnation to Romania’s decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem 

In a statement to the Jordan Times, Jaghbir said that the decision is a message from the industrial sector that rejects and condemns Bucharest’s decision.

He added that all Jordanians refuse to deal with “whomever supports the Israeli atrocities towards the holy city”, stressing that the industrial sector is part of the Jordanian society, which rejects the flagrant Israeli attacks on Jerusalem, according to Petra.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Jumana Ghunaimat stressed that “the King’s decision to cancel his trip to Romania reaffirms his steadfast position and unwillingness to compromise with regards to his stance towards Jerusalem and Palestine’s holy sites”.

During a meeting on Monday with the Lower House’s Palestine Committee, led by MP Yahia Saud, Ghuneimat added that the move represents a call for national unity “in the face of the threats that endanger Jerusalem’s holy sites”, adding that questioning the Kingdom’s position will only serve the occupation and hurt the Palestinian cause, which awaits a comprehensive solution that reclaims the rights of the Palestinian people, most important of which is their right to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Also on Monday, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh noted that The Palestinian issue is going through its most difficult phases, and saying that “actions speak louder than words” in reference to the King’s decision to cancel his visit to Romania.

Tarawneh, in a tweet, said that His Majesty’s decision is a clear message that there will be no compromise on Jerusalem.

The Romanian prime minister promised Sunday in Washington that her country would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, breaking with both the European position and apparently with her own country’s president.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila made the announcement before the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential pro-Israel lobby.

Her stance would align Romania with the US position under President Donald Trump, and it came on a day when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was beginning a Washington visit to include an AIPAC appearance and a meeting with Trump.

On social media, many Jordanians voiced support for His Majesty’s decision, calling on Arab and Islamic nations to take similar stances towards countries that are planning similar moves and show their support and solidarity with Jerusalem. 

“This is an honorable position by King Abdullah. We hope that other leaders in the Arab and Islamic world will take similar stances... Jerusalem, as the King stated, is a red line for us,” Shadi Ahmad said in a post on Facebook. 

Yasser Abdel Rahman, another social media user, said he hopes Arab and Islamic countries will take “such firm stances in support of Jerusalem”. 

Mazen Mirie reiterated in a post on Facebook King Abdullah’s remarks, writing “Jerusalem for all of us here is a redline”. 

“This is a position that we take pride in. The King continues to support the legitimate cause and rights,” Ahmad Alaref said in a post Monday.

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