The Lithuanian government Saturday formally proposed that Lithuania's declaration of independence be suspended while talks take place with Moscow over the future of the rebel republic.
"The government suggests to the Supreme Council (parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania that it debate the possibility of declaring a temporary moratorium on the (independence) Act for the period of negotiations with the Soviet Union," a statement from the parliament's information bureau said.It said the government believed the moratorium could be declared immediately but only take effect when Moscow lifts its economic sanctions against the rebel republic.
The government decision followed talks Wednesday in Moscow between Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene and Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov, which brought the first signs of a breakthrough in the three-month crisis.
Prunskiene emerged from those talks saying Moscow had agreed to lift economic sanctions partially by resuming some gas supplies to her republic.
She indicated that Lithuania was prepared to soften its previous stance by temporarily freezing its March 11 independence act for the duration of talks with Moscow.
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev imposed harsh economic sanctions on Lithuania, cutting off oil supplies and sharply reducing vital gas deliveries in response to legislation Lithuania passed after its independence declaration.
The sanctions have closed most Lithuanian factories, putting up to 40,000 people out of work. They have also hurt agriculture and shut down key installations, including an oil refinery important to the Soviet Union.
Lithuania blazed a trail for independence in the Baltics by its March 11 declaration. Its sister republics, Latvia and Estonia, later decided to pursue a similar, but more gradual, course of action.