Romania and its eastern bloc neighbours have been holding talks aimed at settling a dispute between them over Bucharest's virtual ban on petrol sales to East European tourists.
Romania and its eastern bloc neighbours have been holding talks aimed at settling a dispute between them over Bucharest's virtual ban on petrol sales to East European tourists. A Hungarian government delegation has been in Bucharest to discuss the issue, and other East European countries have been meeting Romanian missions to discuss the issue which has affected thousands of tourists.
SYNOPSIS: These Czech tourist, have been forced to detour through Yugoslavia on their way home from holidays in Bulgaria. They have been advised by their government to avoid Romania during their journeys from Black Sea resorts.
Thousands of tourists faced becoming stranded when Romania decided to limit petrol sales to 'hard' western currency transactions only. The move is part of a touch new campaign to conserve fuel, but other Eastern European governments have protested, and there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity over the move.
East Europeans have long considered Yugoslavia to be in the west for security purposes, but Czechoslovakia has arranged for its citizens to detour through Yugoslavia without having the usual visa.
The inconvenienced travellers have given an unexpected boost to Yugoslavian tourism but Romania's unilateral action has threatened a major split in communist solidarity. The Hungarian news agency says the decision gravely affects tourism in the region.
In Bucharest the fuel crisis is starting to bite. Romania was once self-sufficient in oil but now it is a net importer from OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries). The authorities justify their action by saying that as the country has to pay for its oil imports with hard currency, tourists buying petrol should do the same.
Rumania's Communist neighbours complain that the move violates existing agreements allowing east European tourists to buy fuel in local currency.
Bucharest has ordered a one-week reprieve to allow stranded motorists to get home.