During the course of the year Israel and Romania will mark 60 years of diplomatic relations.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni met this morning (21 February) with Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Mihai Cioroianu. The two foreign ministers welcomed the reciprocal agreement on the waiving of visas between Israel and Romania which will enter into effect on 1 March 2008, enabling Romanian citizens to visit Israel without the need for tourist visas.

FM Livni discussed with her Romanian counterpart the situation in Gaza and said that "All of Europe must internalize that Hamas is not an organization that is interested in the establishment of a state. It does not seek to win rights for the Palestinians but rather to deny the rights of others. Any indirect support for Hamas – even through a discussion of the crossings or the humanitarian situation, weakens those interested in reaching an agreement. There is no future for the Palestinian people with Hamas, and Israel will continue to combat the terror it generates."

In light of the current Romanian presidency of the UN Human Rights Council, the two ministers discussed the position of the HRJ vis-à-vis Israel. They also discussed Romania’s support for upgrading Israel’s relations with the European Union and the issue of the Iranian nuclear program.

They also decided during the course of this year to mark 60 years of continuous diplomatic relations between Israel and Romania.