Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Romania Foreign Minister Resigns


13 April 2008
Bucharest _ Romania's Foreign Minister has quit over the death of a jailed Romanian man in Poland who had gone on a hunger strike to protest his innocence.

Adrian Cioroianu said he had no responsibility in the case but added, "the life of a man is more important than my mandate."

"It is a resignation of honour as at stake was a person's life," he said.

Cioroianu blamed the consul in Poland, Ioan Preda for not informing Bucharest's Foreign Ministry about the case of Claudiu Crulic, who had been on hunger strike while in a Polish jail protesting a verdict by a local court which found him guilty of theft.

He died in January in a hospital in Krakow, weighing less than 30 kilograms.

His friends said Crulic was travelling in Italy at the time of the theft.

Cioroianu, who took up the post a year ago, has often been criticised for verbal slips deemed unfitting for his position.

In November, he drew criticism for saying Romanians who commit crimes abroad bring shame on their homeland and should be deported to the Egyptian desert to do hard labour.

During the NATO summit last week, Cioroianu complained that his fiance, a Romanian soprano, received much more media attention than he did.

Cioroianu on becoming Foreign Minister, replaced Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, who was forced to step down last April amid a row over his failure to inform Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu that two Romanians had been arrested in Iraq by United States troops.

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