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Airtime Pledges For Kyrgyz Opposition Under Question

(RFE/RL) BISHKEK, November 3, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz officials are giving conflicting information as to whether a deal to give the opposition airtime to broadcast its demands on KTR state television will be implemented.

KTR General Director Kyias Moldokasymov told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service the government opposes the idea. But government spokesman Azamat Kalman said that Prime Minister Feliks Kulov is in favor.

Earlier today, Moldokasymov had told opposition leaders they would be granted two half-hour blocks of airtime per evening.

The opposition accuses KTR of bias in its coverage of the ongoing political crisis.

RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports some 1,000 protesters are preparing to spend a second night of vigil in front of the government's headquarters.

The demonstrators want President Kurmanbek Bakiev to implement long-delayed constitutional and other reforms, or resign.

Addressing reporters in Brussels, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called upon the Kyrgyz opposition to show restraint.

"Unfortunately, the reports we received today are alarming. I hope that both sides will show restraint and that, in its actions, the opposition will stay within the law. Everything must be decided within Kyrgyz law, there is no doubt about that. Any problems that arise can be discussed only within that framework."

Prime Minister Kulov earlier today accused the opposition of plotting to seize power by force. The opposition had denied any wrongdoing.

(With reporting by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service and RFE/RL Brussels correspondent Ahto Lobjakas)

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