Russia not to give up Baikonur space center - Putin


BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN, June 2 (RIA Novosti) - To give up the Baikonur space center Russia is renting in Kazakhstan is the last thing Moscow intends to do, confirmed Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

"Russia is presently an active partner of all countries of the world engaged in space efforts. We have agreed with our European partners for joint rocket launches in the Atlantic, in Latin America and at a French space center," he said today-on the Baikonur golden jubilee, while in conference with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, which he is visiting on the festive occasion.

"It would be the most stupid thing to do if we refused to make use of what the preceding generations of cosmonauts and researchers have achieved-the people who got going this center [Baikonur], which is one of the world's most prominent space centers," said President Putin.

Baikonur's fate would have been sad after the Soviet Union collapsed-but, "thanks to Russian research and space efforts, the center has survived and gained a new lease of life," President Nazarbayev said, in his turn.

President Putin called on Kazakhstan to join efforts with Russia in high technologies. "It is no less important to start ever new stages of partnership, and look for pioneer projects in which Kazakhstan and Russia would both be interested."

Russian-Kazakh partnership has been charted for many decades ahead. "This cooperation will be to the benefit of contemporary people and the generations to come," said the Russian President.

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