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Kyrgyz Petition President For Return Of RFE/RL Service

BISHKEK -- Hundreds of people have petitioned Kyrgz President Kurmanbek Bakiev for the return of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, which has been off the air since early October.

According to their petition, the demonstrators, more than 400 people from Kyrgyzstan's southern region of Aksy, say they want the station back "so that the local population can get international and local news in a timely, objective, and balanced manner."

Kyrgyz authorities say RFE/RL broadcasts were taken off the air due to a breach of contract.

RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin said the suspension was initially portrayed as a payment dispute, but that RFE/RL has since traced the payments and confirmed deposit and receipt.