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Former Romanian Prime Minister Says NATO Must Admit Bucharest


Prague, May 13 (RFE/RL) - Former Romanian Prime Minister and current presidential candidate Petre Roman warned yesterday that the course of economic reform could be jeopardized in Romania if NATO does not act to admit it to the Atlantic alliance.

In an interview with RFE/RL in Prague, Petre Roman said that if Romania is rebuffed in its efforts to join NATO, it could lead to a "feeling of frustration. " And that, he said, would benefit the country's conservative forces which are opposed to the West, in general, and NATO, in particular.

Roman, who leads Romania's Democratic Party, said that if conservatives come to power it could lead to what he called "a freezing of the spring" of economic reform. Parliamentary and presidential elections are slated for the end of the year.

Roman said exclusion from NATO could leave Romanians feeling like second-class citizens.

Roman, who served as Prime Minister for two years after the fall of communism, was in Prague on a two-day visit to the Czech Republic.
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