Lithuania Blockade Eased : Soviet Union: Kremlin agrees to restore some fuel and raw material supplies to rebellious republic.

From Associated Press

Lithuania’s prime minister said today the Soviet government has agreed to restore some fuel and raw material supplies to the Baltic republic, easing an embargo imposed two months ago, Tass news agency reported.

Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene made the comment after meeting with Kremlin officials today, the Soviet news agency said.

“There are no doubts about the lifting of the economic blockade. This was stated quite explicitly,” Prunskiene said after she met with Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai I. Ryzhkov.

Prunskiene said she had reached an agreement with Ryzhkov on a partial increase of the supply of natural gas and raw materials to some enterprises in the republic, Tass said.


She also said the Soviet government intends to review the question of renewing the supply of fuel for Lithuanian agriculture.

Prunskiene said her republic would “carefully discuss the question of freezing the republic’s March 11 declaration of independence for the duration of negotiations with the Soviet government.”

Tass quoted Ryzhkov as describing today’s encounter as “the beginning of a concrete dialogue on the question of future negotiations.”

On Tuesday, President Mikhail S. Gorbachev met with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia after refusing for weeks to negotiate with the secessionist Baltic republics unless they agreed to abide by the Soviet Constitution.


President Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania hinted then that the Kremlin might soon end the economic embargo imposed on his republic.

Ryzhkov, who attended the session, said earlier today there was progress on the impasse over the Baltic states’ independence declarations.

The republics want independence lost when they were forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. Latvia and Estonia have taken more cautious steps toward independence than Lithuania.

Gorbachev stopped shipments of all oil, most natural gas and other raw materials to Lithuania on April 18 to pressure the republic into rescinding pro-independence laws. The embargo cut off all of Lithuania’s oil and much of its natural gas and certain raw materials and put 26,000 citizens out of work.


Before today’s reported agreement, Lithuania had said it was willing to negotiate on rolling back its independence laws but steadfastly had refused to revoke its declaration of secession.

The United States became involved in the standoff when lawmakers in Congress suggested they would not approve a trade pact signed during the superpower summit in Washington until Gorbachev opened negotiations with the Baltic republics and lifted the economic embargo he imposed on Lithuania.

The trade agreement would expand opportunities for American companies wishing to do business in the Soviet Union by reducing red tape and providing greater protections against copyright piracy.

The pact is important because it could also clear the way for the United States to grant most-favored-nation trade status to the Soviet Union.