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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 19:06 GMT
Romania caught short in loo row
Romania's palace of the parliament in Bucharest - file photo
Ceausescu's palace - miles of corridors, but short on toilets
Preparations for next month's Nato summit in Romania are being overshadowed by a row - over toilets.

Parliamentary official Mihai Unghianu says Nato has complained that there are not enough lavatories at the venue.

Nato is said to have asked the government to install 1,000 temporary toilets - one for every five delegates, each costing $9,500 (4,700) a week.

Nato has not publicly commented on the issue. Key talks on its Afghanistan mission are expected at the summit.

It will take place at the vast parliamentary palace in Bucharest, built for the late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, but now the site for both houses of parliament.

The palace is among the largest buildings in the world, and although it has more than 1,000 halls and rooms, and 4,500 chandeliers, it appears to be short on some of the bare essentials.

The dispute emerged after minutes from a parliamentary committee meeting were leaked.

'Architectural jewel'

According to these, in the meeting Mr Unghianu reported that after Nato officials had asked him for the plans of the building, they said they were displeased with both the number and quality of the toilet facilities.

Nato suggested the installation of temporary toilets, but Bucharest objected that they did not have the money to fit them, and that they might upset the aesthetic appeal of what some consider to be an architectural jewel of a building.

The palace's architect, Anca Petrescu, has called the request for extra temporary facilities humiliating.

She told Romania's Adevarul newspaper that all the toilets would be working during the summit, and suggested that someone with portable toilets for hire was trying to make money at the taxpayers' expense.

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