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07:56 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Kazakhstan bans foreigners from Baikonur, other areas

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The Kazakh government issued a decree on Friday banning foreigners from visiting four areas of the country, including the city of Baikonur, which services the eponymous space center.
ASTANA, December 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Kazakh government issued a decree on Friday banning foreigners from visiting four areas of the country, including the city of Baikonur, which services the eponymous space center.

Baikonur, the town of Gvardeysk near the former capital, Almaty, and two regions in the Kyzylorda province have been closed to foreigners until 2015.

"The entry of foreigners into the temporarily closed territories is permitted only upon authorization from the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry of the republic of Kazakhstan, following consultations with Kazakhstan's national security committee," the statement says.

Russia has leased the Baikonur space center from Kazakhstan since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the lease treaty will expire in 2050. It pays annual fee of $115 million for the use of the space center, which has the world's busiest launch schedule at the moment.