Tuesday, October 19, 1999 Published at 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Lithuania in political crisis
The crisis was sparked by a disagreement over the oil industry
Two government ministers in the former Soviet republic of Lithuania have resigned following disagreement over what to do with its oil sector.
Finance Minister Jonas Lionginas and the Minister for Economy Eugenijus Maldeikis submitted their resignations when the cabinet approved the sale of the country's oil complex to an American corporation, Williams International.
The Prime Minister, Rolandas Paksas, is also opposed to the sale of a 66% stake in the state-owned Mazeikiai Oil, a deal two years in the making.
The prime minister said the US company had been pressing Lithuania to accept liabilities which were too large and which could put the country's economy in danger.
Mr Paksas said the country was already struggling with a national budget deficit.
Mazeikiai Oil is a cornerstone of the Lithuanian economy, and backers of the deal had hoped the American investment would revitalise the loss-making complex.
Speaker of the Parliament, Vytautas Landsbergis, and President Valdas Adamkus strongly backed the deal.
They were determined to have the agreement with Williams signed by the set deadline of 29 October.
The company is located in the city of Mazeikiai, some 300 kilometres (185 miles) northwest of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.
Reuters reported that the country's share index dropped 3% in the wake of the resignations.