Romanian foreign minister urges Israel, Palestinians to relaunch peace talks

In an interview with The Jerusalem Pos, FM Corlatean: ‘There is a need to find a political solution, even in these complicated circumstances, and to relaunch the peace process.’

Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean condemns kidnapping of the three Israeli teens, expresses solidarity with families. Despite the difficult situation caused by the abduction of three yeshiva students last week, Israel and the Palestinian Authority must find a way to resume peace negotiations, Corlatean said on Sunday, quoted by Agerpres.
Asked if Hamas didn’t pose a problem, Corlatean called on the PA, whose foreign minister he was due to meet later in the day, to ‘assume a clear commitment to the principles of the Quartet and previous agreements.’
FM Corlatean, who has visited Israel numerous times and is considered a good friend of the Jewish state, said he and Liberman had discussed a government-to-government (G2G) meeting between Israel and Romania scheduled to be held on Tuesday, as well as bilateral cooperation, international issues and regional developments.
‘Of course, I expressed once again our condemnation of the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers and our solidarity with the families and the people of Israel,’ he said. ‘Our position was very much appreciated. We were among the first EU member states to express this clear position. But despite these bad developments, our position and the position of the EU is that there is no alternative to dialogue and negotiations for reaching a political solution in the Middle East peace process,’ the minister added. Toward this goal, he said, Romania maintained good contacts with both Israel and the Palestinians, and he stressed the importance of good contacts between the EU and Israel.
‘In Romania, we are dedicated to supporting together with our European and American friends chances for the peace process. (…) The two state solution was and still is an option from our point of view. Of course, there is a need to take Israel’s security needs into consideration, at the same time as there being a need to find a political solution, even in these complicated circumstances,’ he said. Corlatean said that this week’s G2G meeting would celebrate ‘66 years of uninterrupted, substantial and very friendly relations between Romania and Israel.’ He said 11 bilateral agreements would be signed, from economic cooperation to education, culture, research, labour, sports and health, as well as Israeli cooperation in an ambitious Romanian-based laser program.
Corlatean said he and Liberman had already signed memoranda of understandings for cooperation between their two ministries, as well as in education, culture and science. He expressed concern over the strengthening of far-right parties and ‘negative developments in other parts of Europe.’ Corlatean said Romania’s Jewish community, which today numbers about 12,000, represents ‘a very strong bridge between our two countries.’ He revealed that Romania was planning to build a government- funded Jewish Museum, while Romanian Jewish immigrants were also building a museum in Rosh Pina and there would also be a bilateral agreement signed between Yad Vashem and the Romanian Education Ministry.
Talks with Isaac Herzog
Titus Corlatean had a meeting, on Sunday, with the Chairman of the Labour Party in Israel and the leader of the opposition in the Knesset, Isaac Herzog. The two high officials reviewed the current stage of the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries, uninterrupted for 66 years. ‘During the talks, the interlocutors looked into the results of the elections to the European Parliament and also into the process of configuration of the new institutional structures at EU level, while underscoring the need of concerted action to strengthen the EU political and economic project, as well as to contain Euro-sceptical, xenophobic and extremist trends,’ Romania’s Foreign Ministry (MAE) reported in a press release.
Moreover, the two officials made an exchange of opinions on the recent developments in the Middle East, as well as on the situation and prospects of the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Corlatean and Herzog also agreed on the need of a joint action to allow the relaunch of direct negotiations. They also discussed about the future of the relation between the EU and Israel. Minister Corlatean extended an invitation to the Israeli diplomat to pay a visit to Romania this autumn, which invitation was accepted by his interlocutor.
Deputy PM Dragnea, Israeli Construction Minister to sign joint statement
Deputy Prime Minister Livu Dragnea, Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration (MDRAP), and the Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction, Uri Ariel, on Tuesday are set to sign in Jerusalem a joint statement on the strengthening of cooperation in the following areas: urban and regional development, housing, rehabilitation of buildings, protection of the population and training in case of seismic disasters. Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea will take part on Tuesday in Jerusalem to the Romanian-Israeli Government-to-Government meeting, co-chaired by Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.

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