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Kyrgyz Prime Minister Approves Official Repatriation Program

Kyrgyz Premier Feliks Kulov in Bishkek on October 12 (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, October 23, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's news agency say Prime Minister Feliks Kulov has signed an order setting up a state program to ease the repatriation of ethnic Kyrgyz living abroad.

Called Kairylman (Returnee), the program will run through 2008.

A copy of Kulov's draft order obtained by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service says only 9 percent of the almost 23,000 ethnic Kyrgyz who arrived in the country between 1991 and 2005 have obtained citizenship.

The vast majority have no legal status at all.

The draft order notes that more and more ethnic Kyrgyz are entering the country, mainly from neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and that most of them are having problems integrating into Kyrgyz society.

Under the new program, repatriates would obtain a temporary legal status that would allow them to work and have access to education and medical care, pending Kyrgyz citizenship.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service,

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