Monday, November 26, 2007

AP: President names ex foreign minister to head Romanian foreign intelligence

BUCHAREST, Romania: Romanian President Traian Basescu on Monday named a former foreign minister as his choice to head the country's foreign intelligence service.

Mihai Razvan Ungureanu served as foreign minister from 2004 until April when he was forced to resign in April after he failed to inform Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu Popescu that two Romanians had been arrested in Iraq by U.S. troops.

Ungureanu, 39, is a historian by training and known for a pro-American stance. In 2005 he signed a 10-year agreement with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to set up U.S. bases on Romanian soil.

The post heading the Romanian Foreign Intelligence Service has been vacant since its former chief, journalist Claudiu Saftoiu, resigned in March after he alleged that the service had illegally tapped the telephones of Romanian and foreign suspects with permission from prosecutors, instead of a judge's warrant as required by law. He later retracted his statement.

Ungureanu's nomination must be approved by Parliament.

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