MOSCOW, May 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, ratified Wednesday an agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan on further cooperation in effective use of the Baikonur launching site (Kazakhstan) till 2050. The agreement was backed by all the 403 parliamentarians present, with 226 votes required (Duma has 450 seats in all).
Among other things, the document envisages development and construction of a promising environmentally friendly space missile complex Baiterek at Baikonur, based on Russia's Angara complex. The Kazakh side will cover the expenses on the ground-based space infrastructure facilities.
According to Andrei Kokoshin, the head of the Duma committee for the CIS affairs and ties with compatriots, under the 1994 Baikonur lease contract, Russia and Kazakhstan agreed on the lease for 20 years to be later extended by 10 years.
Russia pays a total of $115 million a year. This money is allocated annually by the federal budget.
Baikonur remains the key link in Russia's and CIS space programs, in Russia's international obligations on the ISS and provision for its operation," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov presenting the agreement to the parliamentarians.
According to Lavrov, over 70% of all Russian spacecraft are launched from Baikonur. Once implemented, the agreement will "help continue effective use of Baikonur in commercial space projects and make it possible to use the means invested in technological and launching complexes in the best way, and guarantee stability to investors, including foreign."
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev invited Vladimir Putin to visit Baikonur on June 2 as part of the 50th anniversary of the launching site, said Lavrov.