VILNIUS 's The government announced it would begin talks with Yukos, the embattled owner of the Mazeikiu Nafta refinery, in order to break the looming legal deadlock as a combination of Russian and international creditors attempt to prevent any sale of the asset.
"We want to start discussions with Yukos to consider a way out. We intend to meet the representatives of the concern and, if unsuccessful, we will organize a video conference," Nerijus Eidukevicius, deputy minister of economy and a member of task group for talks with Yukos, told The Baltic News Service on Monday.
Government officials also said they would hire Dutch lawyers to represent the state in what is becoming an increasingly complex and tenuous legal predicament.
Lithuania wants desperately to find a new strategic investor for in Mazeikiu Nafta, the country's largest corporation, and to earn a windfall from the sale of a 20 percent stake of stock it owns in the refinery.
Yukos, meanwhile, wants to sell its controlling stake in the refinery for approximately $1 billion as it struggles to remain a viable company.
Finally, a group of renowned international banks and Yuganskneftegaz, a former Yukos production subsidiary now controlled by the state-owned Rosneft, have managed to have Yukos' controlling stake in Mazeikiu, which is registered in the Netherlands, arrested, thereby preventing any sale.
Last week the government established a working group to negotiate a deal for the refinery. The working group consists of Economy Minister Kestutis Dauksys, his deputy Eidukevicius and Saulius Specius, adviser to Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas.