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Moscow (UPI) Dec 24, 2013
The presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan say they have agreed on a three-year road map for the joint use of the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.
The announcement came following a meeting Tuesday of the two countries' presidents during a Eurasian economic summit in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported.
"We are pleased with this latest meeting and it has been very productive," Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the presidential administration website. "Since our last meeting there has been a lot of work on concrete issues related to deepening and expanding cooperation in sensitive areas, including on energy issues and Baikonur."
Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev declined to discuss details of the new road map, other than to say it "provides the possibility of involving our Ukrainian partner Yuzhmash."
Yuzhmas builds the Zenit rocket used to launch commercial satellites from the Baikonur facility.
Russia, which currently leases the launch site from Kazakhstan for $115 million annually, uses it for manned Soyuz rocket launches as well as Russia's Proton heavy-lift rocket.
Baikonur's lease terms have been the subject of sometimes acrimonious discussions since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
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