STOCKHOLM, Nov. 3 -- Sweden has recalled its ambassador to Romania for consultation over Bucharest's refusal to allow a man to join his wife and child in Sweden, a Foreign Ministry official said today.
The decision came as Anna-Lisa Stoican, 37, began the 34th day of a hunger strike to persuade Romanian authorities to allow her husband, Mihail Stoican, 40, to join her and their 2-year-old daughter in Stockholm.
Romania, replying to an appeal from Swedish Foreign Minister Sten Andersson, said the husband cannot leave the country because he 'has knowledge about state secrets.'
The Romanian statement, deemed unacceptable by Andersson, prompted Sweden to decide Monday night to recall Ambassador Sven G. Lindner from Bucharest, Foreign Ministry press spokesman Martin Hallqvist said.
'Lindner has been asked to come home to comment more closely on the Romanian reply and the situation arising from it,' Hallqvist said in an interview.'He's coming here in the next few days and will return to Bucharest by the end of the week.
'We shall pursue the matter,' Hallqvist said.
It was the first time Romania said Stoican's knowledge of 'state secrets' was the reason for preventing him from returning to Sweden, where he spent several years as a student in the 1970s and met his future wife.
Anna-Lisa Stoican, calling the Romanian reply 'absurd,' noted that Bucharest had promised on several occasions that her husband, a lawyer, would soon be given an exit visa.
The Stoicans married in Bucharest 18 months ago after waiting six years for Romanian authorities to approve their application to marry. The government said they could marry if they settled in Romania.
Swedish officials said the Stoican case has become a matter of prestige for Bucharest and that Romanian authorities apparently disagree on how to handle it.
On May 23, Anna-Lisa Stoican ended 145 days of picketing outside the Romanian embassy, saying she had received assurances that her husband would soon come to Sweden. But nothing happened and she returned to begin the hunger strike on Oct. 1.