Russia Submits Improved Proposals for Use of Azerbaijan’s Gabala Radar Station Jointly with USA: Deputy Foreign Minister
Azerbaijan, Baku /corr. Trend S.Agayeva / The Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Araz Azimov, said on 19 September that Russia submitted an improved set of the proposals for the use of the Gabala Radar Station in Azerbaijan in co-operation with the USA.
He said that it deals with the modernization of Gabala Station. "The current situation in Gabala does not meet the necessary requirements to implement the new proposals of Russia," the Deputy Minister said.
"Based on our recent bilateral discussions on a missile defense system with Russia in Washington and Paris, we believe that there is a possibility to cooperate in preventing the existing and growing threats of ballistic missiles," said the Deputy Director of the US Missile Defense Ministry, Brigadier General, Patrick O'Reilly, in a briefing as a result of a visit by US, Russian and Azerbaijani experts to Gabala Radar Station in Azerbaijan.
According to him, the visit was aimed at becoming familiarized with the possibilities of the Station in order to fully understand the proposal of the Russian side regarding the joint use of the Station. "The USA will make close consultations with the Government of Azerbaijan on each progress regarding this proposal," he said.
According to Azimov, modernizing the Station will increase its importance to Azerbaijan. In addition, the Deputy Minister highlighted the concerns of Azerbaijan about the possible threats the modernization of the Station will be to Azerbaijan's security.
"The main fact is for Azerbaijan to minimize the Station's damages to the country. This issue has been stipulated in a special item in the agreement on the Station's lease between Azerbaijan and Russia," he said.
Russia is currently leasing the Gabala Radio Radar Station in Azerbaijan. The station is part of the Russian system tracking the movement of ballistic missiles. The station had been constructed during the rule of the former Soviet Union as one of the significant elements of the anti-missile system of the USSR. After Azerbaijan regained its independence and owned the station, Russia offered to lease it. A ten-year agreement to rent the station was signed only in 2002. At the end of 2004 the Ministry of Ecology stated its intention to monitor the impact of electro-magnetic radiation on both nature and human health. Different local ecologic organizations urge that electro-magnetic radiation coming from Gabala RS has a negative impact on the environment and human health.
In addition, Azimov called the concerns of several experts regarding the threat of the joint use of the Station for Iran as unrealistic. According to him, Azerbaijan, as an independent State, carries out its policy and considers Iran as a friendly country and does not intend to act against Iran.