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Russia, Kazakhstan consider giving up lease terms for Baikonur

Russia and Kazakhstan jointly use the Kazakhstan launch pad

ASTANA, December 10 (Itar-Tass) — Kazakhstan and Russia are looking into a new agreement on the use of the Baikonur launch pad, which Russia currently leases from Kazakhstan. This agreement will envisage a step-by-step withdrawal from lease relations, the head of the national space agency Kazkosmos, Talgat Musabayev, said at a parliament session on Monday.

According to him, acting in coordination with the Russian leadership, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has set the task to “work out a new comprehensive agreement on the Baikonur pad, which envisages the withdrawal from relations of lease”.

“We are not saying that we stop the lease right away, this cannot be done at a stroke, it would be a disaster,” Musabayev stressed, coming out in favor of the stage-by-stage nature of that process.

The head of the Kazakh space agency also informed parliamentarians that the issue of giving up lease relations on the city of Baikonur is being discussed, and the city may go under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Musabayev noted that at the present moment, Kazakhstan and Russia have decided to resume the activity of the intergovernmental commission for Baikonur, which will be led by Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov and Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

Russia and Kazakhstan jointly use the Kazakhstan launch pad. Starting from 1999, Russia has been yearly paying a 115-million-dollar rent. In January 2004 the lease term was extended to 2050. The lease treaty envisages the setting up of a commission whose main task would be to ensure the legal base for the functioning of the pad on lease conditions.