Russia, Kazakhstan extend Friendship Treaty for 10 years Astana, June 8 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia and Kazakhstan have agreed to extend their bilateral Friendship Treaty, originally signed in 1992, for an additional 10 years. The protocol on amendments to the treaty was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev after talks in the Kazakh capital Astana. Both sides also agreed to step up efforts to expand bilateral cooperation and integration. Moscow and Astana have plans to increase trade from the current $24 billion to $40 billion annually over the next few years. The Kazakh president, on this occasion, said the two sides would focus on cooperation in the energy sector, nuclear and space industry, and exploration of resources in the Caspian Sea. Russia and Kazakhstan adopted a special statement on preserving the infrastructure of the Baikonur Space Centre, which the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos uses to launch various spacecraft into orbit. Nazarbayev also confirmed plans to build a nuclear power plant in his country with Russian assistance. Kazakhstan has tried to balance relations with Russia and the West since becoming independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.