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Kazakhstan to develop Baikonur together with Russia

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Kazakhstan together with Russia intends to develop the complex of Baikonur that includes a cosmodrome and a namesake city, said Erlan Idrissov, Kazakh Foreign Affairs Minister, in an interview to Interfax Kazakhstan.

He also commented the latest statement of Talgat Mussabayev, the head of KazCosmos, that the country's government is going to take Baikonur out of Russian lease.

Mr Idrissov noted that most of the media misrepresented Mussabayev's words.

"Judging by all the comments one would think Kazakhstan was going to scrap space cooperation with Russia. That's absolutely wrong," he underlined.

As he said, the head of KazCosmos "meant that Kazakhstan has a vision to expand its participation in space activities at the cosmodrome, as well as quality development of its space capabilities."

"But, this will not harm Kazakh-Russian relations, but be done together with Russia," said minister.

He also added that to miss a chance of cooperating with such a mighty space superpower would be "naive and unwise" on the part of Kazakh authorities. 

The official also noted that the issue of further partnership in space projects will be discussed at the meeting of two presidents -- Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev -- on December 19.

"In this connection, I assure you that leaders of our countries have full understanding of importance to keep Baikonur as a symbol of our successful bipartite interaction" he concluded.

To recall, on December 10, Talgat Mussabayev, the head of Kazakh Space Agency (KazCosmos), during his speech in the parliament stated that Kazakhstan intends to gradually take Baikonur out of Russian lease.

He then specified that the first step will be a stop of lease of Zenith rocket launch pad.

According to him, the parties are working out the issue of transferring the city of Baikonur located in the complex area under Kazakhstan's jurisdiction.

Russian side expressed discontent over Mussabayev's words.

As unnamed source in the Russian government said to Russia's Kommersant newspaper "such issues should be discussed by the country leaders, and Mussabayev is not of that level."

The city of Baikonur and a like-named cosmodrome make up a complex rented by Russia from Kazakhstan till 2050.

Cosmodrome maintenance costs Russia nearly 5bn rubles a year.

For the period of lease the city of Baikonur is found under jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and is a city with federal status.

WKT citing

December 19 2012, 09:58

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