CIS PREMIERS ENTHUSIASTIC OVER FREE ECONOMIC ZONE. Meeting in Moscow on 25 November, CIS prime ministers endorsed CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovskii's proposal to implement an earlier decision on creating a CIS free economic zone (see "End Note," "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 November 1998). But they noted that Russia will not be able to ensure conditions for such a zone before 2000, according to Noyan Tapan. But several participants, including the representatives of Ukraine, Belarus, and Uzbekistan, rejected a further proposal by Berezovskii to rationalize CIS executive structures by merging the CIS Inter-State Economic Committee and the Executive Secretariat. Russian Prime Minister Primakov had sought to reassure his colleagues that the proposed creation of a new CIS executive organ "will not in any way be a supra-national government or an organ that could take decisions on behalf of CIS heads of state," "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 27 November. LF

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TO ADOPT AMENDED BUDGET THIS MONTH. Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko on 30 November said that the Supreme Council plans to start considering the 1999 budget on 2 December in order to adopt it no later than 25 December, Ukrainian News reported. "It will be far from the budget that would satisfy everyone but it will comply with all the requirements of the existing legislation," the agency quoted him as saying. He added that the government-proposed budget revenues could be increased by 20 percent "simply by improving the quality of tax collection." AP reported on 30 November that the parliamentary budget committee is revising budget figures to make the 1999 budget nearly deficit-free. In particular, the parliament has cut financing for the government and presidential administration. The revised draft budget provides for full payment of overdue wages and pensions. JM