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Romania Reportedly Rejecting Reporters Who Want to Cover Party

November 20, 1989

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Romanian leaders turned back reporters planning to cover the Communist Party Congress and restricted tourist travel to and from the country, news reports and journalists said Sunday.

The political platform adopted ahead of the 14th Congress of the Romanian Communist Party calls for an ″intensified ideological struggle and the encouragement of all anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces in the world,″ according to Yugoslavia’s official Tanjug news agency.

However, Hungary’s ruling Socialist Party on Sunday urged Romania to join other East bloc countries and make democratic reforms. The Hungarian party, which changed its name from the Communist Party in one of a series of reforms earlier this year, said it would not send a representative to the congress, the official Hungarian news agency MTI said.

The French news agency AFP’s Vienna chief of bureau, Jean Burner, was declared unwelcome by Romanian authorities and barred from the country, AFP said.

For Burner, who has headed AFP’s Vienna bureau since August, it would have been his first official trip to Romania. Another French journalist was denied entry Thursday.

A Yugoslav journalist critical of Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu said he also was refused permission to enter that country to report on the congress, which begins Monday.

Dragoslav Markovic, a former correspondent of Yugoslavia’s state Tanjug news agency from Bucharest, was proclaimed persona non grata by the Romanian foreign ministry, he told The Associated Press.

The application for Markovic’s accreditation was rejected with the explanation that Markovic was unwelcome in Romania in any capacity, even as a tourist, he said.

Romania, under Ceausescu’s hard-line rule since 1964, is the East bloc country most opposed to any significant political reform. Ceausescu even urged his Warsaw Pact allies to intervene to block Solidarity’s takeover in Poland.

″To renounce ideological opposition to capitalism means to abandon class struggle in the name of peace, which is impossible as long as there are two opposed systems, capitalism and socialism,″ Tanjug quoted the party’s political platform as saying.

The government Saturday severely restricted travel to and from Romania and stepped up security measures inside the country, Hungarian and Yugoslav media reported.

In a report from Bucharest, the official East German news agency ADN said official East German travelers who wanted to fly to Bucharest with the Romanian TAROM airline were not allowed to.

ADN also said Romanian border police for several hours held up foreign correspondents who traveled to Bucharest for the congress.

Travel restrictions appeared to have slackened somewhat Sunday. Between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday, 870 people sought to cross from Hungary into Romania; 88 were turned back, said a senior Hungarian Border Guards official in Budapest.

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