RIGA, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Latvia's center-right coalition government agreed on Monday to set up a new state-owned enterprise that would take over the port of Ventspils, Transport Minister Talis Linkaits told reporters.
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said the founding of an entirely new legal entity that would manage the port would be the safest way to prevent any disruptions of the port's operations.
The transport minister said that the Freeport of Ventspils in northwestern Latvia is operating as normal but that there are concerns about future contracts.
According to the coalition's plan, four ministries -- the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry, the Economics Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Transport Ministry -- would delegate their representatives to the board of the new company, provisionally named Ventas Osta (Venta Port). The board would appoint the port's CEO.
Lawmakers have yet to pass a number of legislative amendments to enable the plan.
Although the government announced on Dec. 10 that it was taking over the Baltic country's two largest ports - Riga and Ventspils - in a bid to reduce the negative economic effect from U.S. sanctions, a new company will only be established in Ventspils.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced on Dec. 9 that it had included Aivars Lembergs, mayor of the northwestern Latvian port city of Ventspils, as well as four Ventspils-based organizations, to its list of sanctioned individuals and entities.
Lembergs, currently on trial in Latvia, has since resigned from the port's management board in order not to impede the port's operations.
Prime Minister Karins and Transport Minister Linkaits said the government had to take control of the two ports to separate them from the sanctioned individuals and organizations so that they can carry on with their operations unrestricted.
As a result of the takeover, the management boards of Riga and Ventspols ports will no longer have representatives of the cities' local governments.