Paksas to stick with the Williams oil deal

  • 2000-10-19
VILNIUS (BNS) - Lithuanian candidate for prime minister, Rolandas Paksas, has vowed to put pressure on U.S.-based energy group Williams, urging it to meet the engagements stipulated in a deal with the country on the sale of Lithuanian oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta.

Paksas, the leader of the Lithuanian Liberal Union, told TV3 Evening News on Oct. 10 that he would not seek the cancellation of the Williams agreement after he takes office.

"I understand perfectly the meaning of an international agreement between a U.S. company and Lithuania, and I can see the consequences of unilateral denunciation of the pact by Lithuania," said Paksas, who left the prime minister's post in the Conservative-led government in May in protest of the Williams pact, which he said was unprofitable to Lithuania.

Less than a year after his resignation, Paksas is coming back to the position along with ex-ministers of finance and economy, Jonas Lionginas and Eugenijus Maldeikis, who supported his protest.

In Paksas' words, "our key concern is to make the pact work as it was signed, and ensure that all parties meet their obligations."

"I am convinced that the Americans have so far failed to fulfill their obligations," he added.

"Up until now, no one has had the political will to summon (Williams) to the government or Parliament and ask them to live up to the agreement, so that Lithuania and the Americans are satisfied," Paksas told TV3 Evening News.

He would not name the obligations unfulfilled by Williams, which has acquired a 33-percent stake in Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta.

The opposition has criticized the Williams pact severely, advocated by the ruling Conservatives' and the U.S. firm's failure to agree with Russia on crude supply and its inability to ensure the stable work of Lithuania's only oil concern.