PUSTOVOYTENKO HOPEFUL OF CONTINUED IMF MONEY. Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko said in Kyiv on 4 February that his talks with IMF officials in Washington will allow the continuation of its loan to Ukraine, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Presidential economic adviser Valeriy Lytvytskyy, who accompanied Pustovoytenko on his Washington visit, in which talks took place with IMF, World Bank, and U.S. officials, said that the next tranche of Ukraine's $2.2 billion, three-year loan may be drawn in early March. But he said it depends on whether government implements a series of budget and reform measures. Ukraine has said it may have to default on its foreign-debt payments if it fails to garner enough financing. The same day, the government ordered the mandatory conversion of treasury bills maturing this month. The Ukrainian News Agency said the order applied to some 200 million hryvni ($58 million) worth of bonds. PB

UKRAINE TO BUILD PIPELINE FOR GAZPROM. Ukraine's state oil and gas company, Naftogaz Ukrainy, agreed to pay off part of its debt to Russian gas giant Gazprom by building a pipeline for it, AP reported on 4 February. Naftogaz chairman Ihor Bakay said the 555-kilometer pipeline will run between the southern Ukrainian towns of Ananyv and Ismayl and will reportedly cost $250 million. It will be used by Gazprom to export gas to Western Europe. Bakay said Ukraine gets about 70 percent of its gas from Gazprom, and it owes the Russian company about $1.1 billion. Bakay vowed that the debt will not increase in 1999. PB

ESTONIA WANTS TO RETAIN BALTIC FREE TRADE EVEN AFTER EU ENTRY. Paul Lettens, adviser to Premier Mart Siimann, says that Estonia wants to retain its free trade agreements with its Baltic neighbors and with Ukraine after it joins the EU, ETA reported on 4 February. Estonia expressed that position to the EU last week. Lettens noted that Tallinn is prepared to give up all other agreements with third countries that are not in accordance with EU norms but would like exceptions to be made for those with Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine. The request is based on the assumption that the three countries will also become members of the union. JC