KAZAN, September 13 - RAPSI. Igor Artemyev, the head of the federal antimonopoly service, says that its conflict with Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor in connection with the distribution of shares in VimpelCom Ltd. may be settled within the next two weeks. If this turns out to be the case, the service is likely to withdraw its lawsuit.

In February, Telenor acquired shares in VimpelCom from Weather Investments II, controlled by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, and increased its voting stake in the holding first from 25.01 to 36 percent, and then later to 39.5 percent.

The parties then signed an option contract which allowed the Norwegian company to increase its stake to 43 percent. The Federal Antimonopoly Service disputes the transaction made in February and said that the only way to settle the conflict was by distributing the stakes equally between Russian and foreign shareholders. Altimo, a Russian shareholder, holds a 40.5 percent stake. Telenor was also prohibited from implementing the option agreement in the Federal Antimonopoly Service's lawsuit.

"We are very close to settling the conflict, thanks to Telenor and Altimo's cooperation," Artemyev said during a press conference.

He said that all parties to the talks were acting constructively. "We are waiting for a more or less final answer from Telenor and are looking forward to Altimo's corresponding recommendations and response," he added.

The Russian government is being kept fully up to date on the status of the conflict's settlement, Artemyev said.

"In fact, if all goes well, we might not even need to sign an amicable agreement, and we could just withdraw the lawsuit from the court when the terms were met," he said.

The case must be resolved in the next two weeks, Artemyev stated. The term of the option agreement expires on October 1, according to which Telenor must buy three percent of VimpelCom shares from Sawiris.

"It would be best to have everything sorted by this date," Artemyev said.