Lithuania says the Soviet government has agreed to restore 15 percent of its natural gas needs as a first step toward achieving a compromise on the Baltic republic's independence drive.
The move offers some relief in the 2-month-old Soviet embargo of raw materials directed at forcing Lithuania to scrap laws promoting its March independence decree, parliamentary spokeswoman Rita Dapkus said Wednesday.
She said Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov told his Lithuanian counterpart, Kazimiera Prunskiene, on Wednesday of the partial restoration of supplies. The Soviet Union cut off the republic's entire oil supply, most natural gas and some raw materials on April 18.
The shortages have put 26,000 people out of work.
The additional gas, which will give Lithuania 30 percent of its regular supply, will allow a fertilizer plant to reopen.
Ryzhkov made no promises on restoring other supplies, Dapkus said. But the official Soviet news agency Tass quoted Prunskiene as saying, after meeting Ryzhkov in the Kremlin, that "We have no doubts the economic blockade will be lifted."
Meanwhile, the Soviet Parliament approved the principle of a transition to a regulated market economy.
The resolution approving a move toward a modified market system ordered the government to develop a specific reform program by September.
It also gave Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev the power to issue decrees, effective July 1, that temporarily implement already passed laws on property, lease arrangements, local self-government and local administration of the economy.
Approval of the seven-point resolution Wednesday provided the go-ahead for a definitive break with more than 60 years of an economy governed by central government commands rather than by supply and demand.
In another development, the Tass news agency said Thursday that the death toll from ethnic violence in Soviet Kirghizia stands at 155 after 10 days of tension between Kirghiz and Uzbeks.
But it said a wave of shooting and arson was abating and that the Central Asian republic was returning to normal. No shooting incidents were reported overnight.