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Gazprom Says Final Decision on Rosneft Merger Made

A top official of Russia's giant natural gas firm, Gazprom, says his company and the state-owned oil firm, Rosneft, have worked out the final details of their merger.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller says his firm will acquire 100 percent of Rosneft, while the government will receive a controlling 51 percent stake in Gazprom. State control of Gazprom is a key government condition for the lifting of a ban on foreign ownership of the company's shares.

Mr. Miller says the merger does not include the Yuganskneftegaz production unit, which was seized from the Yukos oil firm and sold at a court-ordered auction last year. Rosneft acquired the unit from a previously unknown company that purchased it at the December sale.

Critics accuse the government of trying to tighten control of the oil market and retaliate for former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky's support of the political opposition, charges the Kremlin denies.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.