Russia, Kazakhstan agree on number of launches from Baikonur not for first year

MOSCOW. January 26. KAZINFORM Russia and Kazakhstan continue the work on the whole scope of bilateral cooperation at the Baikonur spaceport, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

The media reported earlier that the Russian Foreign Ministry passed a diplomatic note to Kazakhstan over the country's intentions to reduce the quota for the launches of Russian launch vehicles Proton from 17 to 12 launches from the Baikonur spaceport this year.

"I would not say about some special importance of our exchange of diplomatic notes with such a high level of cooperation between our countries, including the space sphere," he said, noting that he sees no disagreements with Kazakhstan in the space industry.

"The presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan met in Moscow on December 19 and confirmed the importance of this cooperation, they noted the full need to preserve and develop the Baikonur spaceport as a very important site of our cooperation and as a symbol of our partnership and allied relations," the Russian foreign minister recalled, Kazinform refers to Itar-Tass.

"Some questions are arising, when there is such a large economic machine in view," Lavrov went on to say. "The questions arose over the number of launches, particularly over Kazakhstan's concerns for the ecological aftermaths of these processes," the minister said. Lavrov pledged that Russia is doing its best to improve the ecological situation.

"We agree on the number of launches not for the first year, and this is not a sensational issue," the Russian foreign minister said. "The presidents understand the need to settle all similar situations and they decided to form an independent intergovernmental committee over the Baikonur spaceport. The committee is already formed, Igor Shuvalov heads it from Russia," Lavrov pointed out.

"Today we agreed to continue the work on the whole scope of issues related with the operation of the Baikonur spaceport, in line with the instructions from the presidents and their decisions, which are being drafted jointly at the level of the governments and the space agencies," Lavrov added.

Lavrov also added that someone is seeking "to make a mountain out of a molehill."

"There is neither scandal nor sensation in this issue," Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov said.

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