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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians at Disputed Quartz Plant Ready to Talk

The Russian head of the disputed Gus Khrustalny glass quartz plant said Wednesday that he had a friendly meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow a day earlier and that he was ready to sit down for talks with plant's U.S. partner.

Vershbow on Tuesday visited the Gus Khrustalny in the Vladimir region, where he said he wanted "to encourage a negotiated solution" to Sawyer Research Products' struggle to reclaim its $8.2 million investment in the plant. Very Pure Quartz Glass squeezed Sawyer out of the plant in 2001.

Sergei Obukhov, general director of the Very Pure Quartz Glass and the head of the plant, said Wednesday that he and Vershbow agreed that "the will to start negotiations is strong." "We have the same target - to maintain high standards in the market," he said by telephone. "Sawyer has very good expertise and know-how, and together we could be a very competitive venture."The ambassador said he would invite Sawyer for talks. As for us, this meeting could take place as soon as tomorrow."

Vershbow said at a news conference Wednesday that the visit had been a "good" one."I am glad that they took to heart my recommendation to look to the future and not to the past," he said. "I think they are beginning to realize that although they may be able technically to continue to produce these advanced quartz crystals, they will probably not be able to succeed as a business unless they reestablish the partnership with Sawyer.

"Sawyer is the key to the international market. Maybe my visit helped, but I think now they are more realistic."

Vershbow said he will now press Sawyer President Gary Johnson to look into the future and "strike while the iron is hot."

Speaking by phone from his offices in Eastlake, Ohio, Johnson said: "In the event a concrete initiative is forthcoming as a result of Ambassador Vershbow's trip to Vladimir, Sawyer is prepared to participate in a cooperative process designed to resolve the Vladimir investment."