Yesterday the Romanian PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu demanded foreign minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu to resign because of not having informed the government and the prime minister about the two Romanian workers arrested in Iraq. Minister Ungureanu agreed to do it and admitted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been wrong.
Ungureanu was one of the officials ZIUA pointed to, arguing that he was one of the main officials involved in the hiding of information on the two Romanians retained in Iraq. The foreign minister admitted the mistake. Claudiu Saftoiu, chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service in Romania, is to give explanations to the Parliament.
The two Romanians were set free
Romanian Presidency confirmed yesterday morning just one hour before the announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the two Romanian workers arrested in Iraq had been set free.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs proved total ignorance of the case, although minister Ungureanu had said one day before that the Ministry was handling it. On the other hand Adriana Saftoiu, a spokeswoman for Presidency, informed last Thursday that the President received information only on special cases and took action only if demanded. Officially, no institution demanded or suggested to the President to participate in the prisoner release action, therefore it is a personal initiative of the President's. Maybe he was so despaired that he tried to save what was left of the state institutions' credibility, much harmed because of the amnesia on the two Romanians arrested in Iraq, a piece of information provided last November. The situation emerging because of the President's fishy "forgetfulness" may also be taken as the President's indifference to the fate of two Romanians. This is why the leader in Cotroceni Palace should do his best to change this impression.
Yesterday the head of state described as "lacking a moral sense" those politicians claiming that the recently released Romanians were spies for the Romanian services: "You can address the very politicians who were talking about spies last night, although it was about some poor Romanians whom people lacking a moral sense categorized as spies for the Romanian services." The President's nervousness is explainable, but his offense against politicians is unmotivated. Lack of transparency fuels allegations and scenarios able to deform reality. The President can reproach neither politicians nor press for it, since Presidency Administration uttered no word for almost three months. "Confidentiality" was so strict that not even the PM was informed about it, which is unprecedented in a democratic state. We can therefore notice that secretiveness or ignorance can sometimes have perverse effects.
President criticizes MAE
The Romanian President criticized the MAE (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) yesterday for having disrespected the two Romanians' right to image by unveiling the case to the public, although the two Romanians now free had demanded that neither the press nor their families should be informed about it: "What the MAE did was break these two people's wish for no talk about them, since they have the right to their own image. (...) These people had the right not to be subject to scandal in Romania."
Basescu also showed the piece of information Presidency had received from the MAE: "The two insisted that their families in Romania should not be announced about the incident until things became clear, until they were charged or set free." (M.T., R.A.)