Russia sends note to Kazakhstan on Baikonur
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 24 / Trend E. Kosolapova/
Russian Foreign Ministry has sent note to Kazakhstan on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in anticipation of Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov's visit to Moscow, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported.
In the note Russia informed Kazakhstan on the measures to be taken by Moscow if Astana will not permit all launches planned by the Russian party from the cosmodrome.
"In this case, Russia will have to think whether it is expedient to continue bilateral cooperation in the joint projects, including Dnepr program, Baiterek joint project and some others," the newspaper quotes the note.
Russian Space Agency Roscosmos told the newspaper that the restriction imposed by Kazakhstan on Proton-M carrier rockets launches will result in $500 million loss for Russian companies.
Kazakh Foreign Ministry confirmed reception of the note, saying that there are no ultimatums in the note.
"Russia sent the note on January 18. I believe associating this note with the visit of Kazakh Foreign Minister to Russian Federation makes no sense. This is a normal partnership working process, we will discuss all the issues concerning the Baikonur cosmodrome," the head of Kazakh Foreign Ministry's International Information Department Zhanbulat Usenov told Interfax news agency.
According to Usenov, Kazakh-Russian bilateral commission on Baikonur cooperation will discuss the situation in Moscow on January 30.
Earlier Kazakhstan allowed Russia to launch only 12 Proton-M carrier rockets from Baikonur in 2013 instead of the 17 requested launches. The Kazakh party explains the restriction by negative environmental impact of the launches.
The Baikonur Cosmodrome is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan. It is leased by the Kazakh government to Russia (currently until 2050) and is managed jointly by the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Russian Space Forces. Under the current Russian space program, Baikonur remains a busy space port, with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions being launched annually.