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Romania: Ciorbea Continues Washington Visit

Washington, 19 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea is scheduled to meet the leadership of the U.S. Senate and World Bank President James Wolfensohn as he continues his official visit to Washington today.

The prime minister started a round of Washington meetings yesterday as Romania continues to argue its case for early inclusion in the expanded NATO alliance.

However, Ciorbea said after a meeting with U.S. Vice President Al Gore yesterday that the U.S. is not going to endorse an invitation for Romania when the alliance holds its summit in Madrid next month. The U.S. decided last week that it will back only three countries -- Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic -- in the anticipated first round of expansion into central and eastern Europe.

Ciorbea said Gore gave him assurances that, if Romania continues political and economic reforms, the U.S. will support Romania for the next round of expansion.

The prime minister also had talks aimed at strengthening Romania's economic ties with Washington. He met with Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Commerce Secretary William Daley.

Ciorbea is due to return to Romania tomorrow, following meetings with Defense Secretary William Cohen and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Michel Camdessus.