US Secretary of State to Discuss Azerbaijan’s Gabala Radar Station
Russia's offer to jointly exploit Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan will be the key issue to be discussed at the negotiations between the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates and their Russian counterparts to take place in Moscow on 12 October.
George Bush's administration considers Russia's offer on joint exploitation of Gabala radar station to be very interesting and thinks Russia's participation in joint interconnected defence shield elements together with US and probably NATO is possible, the US Deputy Secretary of State on Europe and Eurasia, Daniel Fried, said in Washington on 5 October.
According to him, defence shield will be one of the key agenda issues to be discussed next week at the upcoming two-day negotiations in Moscow to involve US and Russian Foreign Ministers.
"We have told the Russians that their proposal to offer up a radar site in Azerbaijan, the Gabala radar site, and perhaps a radar site in southern Russia itself, opened up a possibility of having genuinely-collaborative efforts on missile defence, directed at common problems. And we would like to see the whole question opened up as it were, with everything on the table: what NATO is doing, what the United States, Poles and Czechs may be doing, what Russia is prepared to offer. So this is a very far-reaching proposal by the Russians that opens up some very good potential areas of cooperation," he said.
"Thus, the problem should be re-defined in order to enable Americans and Russians, and probably NATO or Russia-NATO Council, to jointly work over establishment of a unified system or unified system networks, which would contribute to security of all us. Thus, if Russia is a part of the system it will be more confident that the system will not be intended against them," Fried said.
Besides, he stressed that that the United States wants missile defence system elements to be placed in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Russia repeatedly expressed its concern about United States' plans on placement of missile shield elements in Europe. Moscow believes establishment of US's European anti-missile basis should be considered just essential re-configuration of US's military function in Europe.
"Placement of radar and missiles was forced not by any political considerations but by geographical coverage. If you place them in other places coverage in Europe will lessen. Given geography and geometry Poland and the Czech Republic are ideal," Fried said.
Gabala radar station might perfectly supplement US missile shield, he added.
"Gabala radar and the radar in the Czech Republic as if were built as mutual supplements. If they are united they will provide for much more reliable coverage of Iranian ballistic missiles launching," Fried said.
"Our experts after visiting Gabala revealed that it really had a lot of serious opportunities," the diplomat said.
Fired also reported that he together with the US Deputy Secretary of State on international security, John Rude and the US Deputy Defence Secretary on political issues, Eric Edelman, will leave for Moscow on 9 October to negotiate on preparations for the upcoming meeting with Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates who will arrive in Moscow in the morning of 12 October.
The negotiations involving also Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and Russian Defence Minister, Anatoly Serdukov, will take place on 12 and 13 October, Fried said.