MOSCOW, July 8. /TASS/. Russia has no plans to leave the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Friday.
"I see it as a goal of our joint work to preserve and expand the Baikonur space center’s potential, to provide people living in the city of Baikonur, regardless of their ethnic identity or citizenship, with comfortable conditions for work and living," he said. "Baikonur must go on. It has big future. It is a big joint project of our two countries. Regardless of the fact that Russia is building and has practically completed the construction of the Vostochny spaceport in the Amur region, Baikonur will still be very important for us."
Rogozin said that at a narrow-format meeting of the intergovernmental commission the co-chairs took a decision to swiftly commission a medical block built at the expense of the Kazakh budget. "I think all our decisions should be guided not by specific sectoral ambitions but by the main thing that unites us concerning this matter: the space center must go on."
The Russian deputy prime minister especially emphasized that Russia plans to stay at Baikonur. "We want the city to develop, to be improved, repaired and further built. We want it to welcome specialists from both Kazakhstan and Russia to ensure state-of-the-art infrastructure of the Baikonur space center," he said.
He called on people not to yield to all sorts of speculation that Russia is leaving Baikonur. "Russia is not leaving Baikonur. It is a common project, which has been confirmed by our presidents. We discussed it and confirmed it once again today," he said.
The deputy PM went on to say that the concept of long-term development of the Baikonur Space Centert is to be ready before the year-end.
"Upon reaching mutual understanding of the status and contents of this document, the task now is to prepare the draft concept for signing before the end of this year," Rogozin said.
Drafting the long-term concept for promoting and coordinating cooperation at Baikonur are Russian and Kazakhstani agencies concerned with the upkeep and efficient utilization of the compound, Rogozin said.
"We agreed to consider in more detail the promising projects related to Baikonur’s development and a possible engagement of the countries that have ambitions in space research but no competences in the sphere," he said.