UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS 1999 DRAFT BUDGET. The Supreme Council on 30 September rejected the government's 1999 draft budget as "unacceptable," Ukrainian Television and Ukrainian News reported. Lawmakers instructed the cabinet to draft a new budget that would take into account the recent fall of the hryvnya exchange rate and higher inflation. Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov agreed that the budget was unrealistic because it was prepared on the basis of economic indicators in June and July, well before the current crisis hit the country. In particular, the document provided for 19.2 billion hryvni ($5.7 billion) in revenues and 22.9 billion hryvni in expenditures, with a budget deficit equal to 0.6 percent of GDP. Mityukov said the cabinet will seek to submit a new draft budget by mid-October. JM

UKRAINE TO BUY MORE GAS FROM RUSSIA. Ukraine plans to buy an additional 5 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia this year, Ukrainian Television reported on 30 September. Ihor Bakay, head of Ukraine's gas and oil monopoly Naftohaz Ukrayiny, said a number of Ukrainian enterprises will have no gas supplies in the last quarter of 1998 unless the purchase is made. According to AP, the government wants to pay for half of the gas in cash, while the form of payment for the other half is under consideration. JM

CONGRESS OF MUSLIMS OF CAUCASUS OPENS IN BAKU. Russian Nationalities Minister Ramazan Abdulatipov, Chechen Vice President Vakha Arsanov, and representatives of Muslim organizations in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia are among the delegates to the 10th Congress of Muslims of the Caucasus, which opened in Baku on 30 September, Caucasus Press reported. Addressing the congress, Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev said that stability in Dagestan is crucial for the entire Caucasus, and he expressed support for his Georgian counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze's "Peaceful Caucasus" initiative. Chechen mufti Haji Akhmed Kadyrov blamed Moscow for what he termed the "very tense" situation in the North Caucasus. He argued that Russia is encouraging Wahhabism, which he described as a serious threat to Islam, pointing to Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin's pledge not to take legal action against the inhabitants of two Dagestani villages that recently proclaimed an independent Islamic territory (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 September 1998). LF