Date :3/22/03 8:55:15 PM
  No.: 37
llll bbbb SPA- 37 - general/ Romania denies Iraq embassy shut

BUCHAREST, Mar 22, SPA-- Romania on Saturday denied it had closed Iraq's embassy in Bucharest and said it was only considering a U.S. request to do so.

"We haven't yet taken a decision on whether to suspend the Iraqi diplomatic mission operations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cosmin Dobran said. "We're assessing the request."

Romania, like other ex-communist states in Europe, is grateful for U.S. backing in its attempts to become a NATO member and has supported the U.S. drive to disarm Iraq.

Dobran said two Iraqi "high-ranking" diplomats remained at the embassy after Romania expelled five diplomats in early March following investigations which showed their actions were "incompatible" with their duties.

Only the Australian government is known so far to have shut the Iraqi embassy in its country. --SP2100 Local Time 1800 GMT

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