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    Moscow hopes Lithuania will take unbiased approach to Russia's Yukos inquiry

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    MOSCOW, July 4 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow hopes Lithuania will study the Russian Justice Ministry's inquiry about the Yukos oil major, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    "We hope Lithuania's Justice Ministry will study the inquiry and will adopt a decision based exclusively on the rule of law," the ministry said in a statement. "This is a purely legal issue."

    Russia's Justice Ministry approached the justice ministries of Lithuania and the Netherlands last Wednesday with a request to track down assets of Yukos' affiliates located in the countries and ban transactions with the oil company's 53.7% of shares in Lithuania's Mazeikiu nafta (MN). The requests were made to help Russia's tax authorities have Yukos pay its back taxes.

    Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus qualified the request as interference into the country's contractual affairs.

    The Foreign Ministry regretted that "the head of state made a statement in parliament without knowing the details of the matter, something Valdas Adamkus admitted himself, and only knowing about the matter from newspapers."

    "This is a routine inquiry that was sent to our Lithuanian colleagues in line with usual international practices and a bilateral agreement on legal assistance," the ministry said.

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