Kazakhstan to take control over Baikonur city.

By bne IntelliNews December 11, 2012
Kazakhstan wants to return the city of Baikonur from Russia to its own jurisdiction, Kazkosmos head Talgat Musabayev has told the Kazakh parliament. He added that Kazakhstan had demanded to re-establish the commission that previously oversaw the main aspects of the intergovernmental agreement on Baikonur, home of the rocket launch centre. The two sides signed an agreement in 2004 extending Russias use of the space centers facilities until 2050. Russia pays USD 115mn annually for use of the centre and USD 50mn for its maintenance. In May, Kazakhstan blocked several launches of the rockets in a dispute over a drop zone for debris. According to Astana, that issue should be covered in a supplement agreement. The dispute shows that Kazakhstan is pushing for an increased role in the space industry. However, the transfer of Baikonur to Kazakhstan may result in an exodus of specialists from the town. Presently, 70,000 people live in the town, of which 40% are Russians. Security of the city is provided by both Russian and Kazakh law enforcement services.

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