Romania bars ex-king

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THE Romanian government yesterday refused to allow the former king, Michael, to enter the country, denouncing his attempted visit as 'inconvenient' and a threat to public order, writes Adrian Bridge.

The former king, who had wanted to attend a conference on Romania's wartime role, was refused a visa and was barred from entering Bucharest airport terminal. Less than two hours after he touched down in his homeland, he was forced to return to Paris. A government statement denounced what it described as 'an attempt to force entry into the country', and criticised the 'irresponsible attitude of some leaders of (opposition) parties who encouraged this illegal visit'.

Romania's former sovereign, who was expelled by the country's Communist leaders in 1947 and who now lives in Switzerland, has long been a rallying point for opposition parties that would like to see a restoration of the monarchy.