September 5, 2017 / 3:37 PM / 10 months ago

Romanian defense minister quits over communications mixup

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania’s Defence Minister Adrian Tutuianu said he had resigned on Tuesday after his ministry said it was unable to pay military and defense staff wages in full, only to be contradicted within hours by the finance ministry.

The defense ministry said in a statement that it had run out of funds to cover salaries for its staff and would pay them in stages pending a consolidated budget revision planned for September.

The finance ministry later contradicted the statement, saying no ministry was facing wage funds shortages.

“I have handed in my resignation for the lack of communication,” Tutuianu told private television station Antena3. Prime Minister Mihai Tudose will send the resignation to the president later on Tuesday.

The defense minister position carries a lot of responsibility as NATO member Romania has committed to spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense every year for the next nine years, a military procurement plan for 2017-2026 showed.

Romania, a country of 20 million people, hosts a U.S. ballistic missile defense station and has sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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