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The government of Romania has decided to allow 14 Israeli couples to complete adoption procedures and take custody of children promised to them. The adoption process had been suspended for some 18 months in light of grave criminal suspicions on the part of the Romanian authorities concerning the activities of the Israeli associations handling the matter.

The decision by the Romanian government came last Thursday in the wake of pleas submitted to the government in Bucharest by President Moshe Katsav, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the Prime Minister's Office. The decision still requires approval from Romania's legal authorities.

As previously reported in Ha'aretz, the Romanian adoption authorities, together with the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry and the Israel Police, are looking into suspicions surrounding the activities of two associations dealing with the adoption of Romanian children by couples in Israel. The investigation includes allegations concerning the forging of adoption papers and the offering of children who have not been approved for adoption purposes.

In light of the inquiries, the Romanian authorities suspended all procedures related to 14 children, despite the fact that the Israeli couples had already paid the adoption fees (some $20,000 each) and had already seen the babies in hospitals or their current foster homes.

Meanwhile, the Romanian adoption authorities are investigating claims that Israeli, Italian and American adoption organizations have also been involved in the illegal trading of organs for transplant purposes.

Until now, the Romanian authorities have not presented the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry with any evidence to support such claims, while the Romanian Embassy in Israel has denied that such an inquiry is underway.