Azerbaijan Defence Minister Says Political Decision on Azerbaijan’s Gabala Radar Station Possible after Military Experts’ Meeting
Georgia, Tbilisi / Тrend corr N. Kirtskhalia, E. Huseynov / A political decision on the joint exploitation of Azerbaijan's Gabala radar station (RS) may be made after the trilateral meeting of US, Russian and Azerbaijani military experts. "Azerbaijani, US and Russian delegations will have a meeting where the Russians will present Gabala RS. That is a meeting of military experts, after which a political decision on possible joint exploitation of the station will be taken," Azerbaijani Defence Minister, Safar Abiyev, said to journalists in Tbilisi on 17 September.
Russian-US-Azerbaijani consultations on placement of missile shield and joint use of Gabala RS in Azerbaijan will take place in Baku on 18 September 2007.
The decision to hold trilateral consultations was made within the framework of the G-8 summit on 7 June 2007, when the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, offered US joint exploitation of Gabala Radar Station. He noted the advantages of deployment of Anti-Missile Defence (AMD) elements in Azerbaijan rather in Poland and the Czech Republic.
US experts will examine Gabala RS and decide whether it is possible to place missile shield systems, Abiyev said on 17 September after he laid flowers in memory of the people who died for Georgia's territorial integrity located in Tbilisi's square of heroes.
Gabala Radar Station situated in the north-west of Azerbaijan was built during Soviet times as an important element of the USSR AMD. The 10-year agreement to lease the station was signed in 2002. Annual rent charges totalled $14mln.