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US official: Romania should be 'clean' ally for US

BUCHAREST, Romania – A U.S. official has urged Romania to continue economic and democratic reforms, after lawmakers voted legislation which would make it more difficult to prosecute lawmakers and would make libel a criminal offense.

After the Dec. 9 vote, the U.S. called the draft legislation "a step away from transparency and rule-of-law" and "a discouraging sign for investors, which will negatively affect Romania's economy."

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland reinforced that message Saturday after meeting Romanian officials. She said Washington wanted Romania to be the "strongest possible, cleanest possible, democratic ally ...as a partner for the United States," with a free media.

She urged Romanians to "insist on rule of law and insist on transparency and good governance."

Parliament has since said it will reconsider the legislation.

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