Ruling Romanian party leader Liviu Dragnea says 'decision has been taken'
The Romanian government will follow the United States and transfer its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) leader said on Thursday.
"The decision has been taken… the procedures are beginning," Liviu Dragnea told Antena 3 television ahead of a government announcement.
According to Dragnea, PSD Prime Minister Viorica Dancila's government agreed on Wednesday on "the start of procedures with a view to the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem".
A government spokesman refused to comment when questioned by AFP, although rumours of the intended move from Tel Aviv leaked out last December.
President Donald Trump's call to shift the US embassy to the disputed city sparked deadly protests and 128 states condemned it in a United Nations General Assembly vote in December.
Only seven smaller countries aligned themselves with the United States and Israel.
Trump has mooted a trip to Jerusalem to open the embassy in May.
In December, Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and signalled Washington's intention to relocate its embassy. The move infuriated many of Washington's Arab allies and dismayed Palestinians who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The US schedule for the move appears to have sped up: during his visit to Israel last month, Vice President Mike Pence said the embassy would be moved by the end of 2019.
Romania would be the first European Union member to follow in US footsteps.
Dragnea noted the "enormous symbolic value" of the move, saying Israel "has a strong international influence" and it would be "very valuable for the American administration".
"I think the decision will produce major benefits for Romania," he added.
"This is also a pragmatic approach. Like all of us, Israel has the right to establish its capital where it wants," Dragnea said.