Romania Says It Will Stand by Israel in Event of Conflict With Iran

Romanian President Traian Basescu tells President Shimon Peres his country will stand by Israel if it attacks Iran.

Romania's president said Thursday his country will be a loyal partner of Israel and NATO in the event of a conflict with Iran, but added that he hopes the dispute can be solved through diplomacy and sanctions.

"We hope that the sanctions imposed by the Security Council of the U.N. will create the correct solution in Tehran, not digging graves for American soldiers but starting transparent negotiations," said President Traian Basescu standing next to Israeli President Shimon Peres who is on an official visit to Romania.

Basescu told reporters if a conflict broke out with Iran, "Romania will be a loyal partner of NATO ... and a loyal partner of Israel. The two leaders earlier talked for an hour about a range of topics including Iran."

Iran is under a fourth round of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, and the U.S. and the European Union have also implemented other sanctions because of Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

Peres was on a two-day official visit to Romania, the first by an Israeli head of state since the state was created in 1948. Peres thanked Romania for helping 400,000 Romanian Jews emigrate to Israeli during the communist regime.

The Israeli leader is expected to attend a ceremony at a Bucharest synagogue to commemorate six Israeli soldiers who died in July in a helicopter crash in Romania. A Romania soldier was also killed when the Israeli transport helicopter crashed in mountainous terrain during a joint military exercise. Peres thanked Basescu for his personal support in dealing with the crash.

On Friday Peres will visit the Holocaust Memorial in Bucharest.