Azerbaijan, Baku / Тrend corr S. Agayeva / The United States make every effort to turn differences with Russia over a missile shield into opportunities for cooperation, including the joint exploitation of the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan, the US Ambassador to Russia William Josef Burns said to the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
In summer the Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested to the US President in Kennebunkport, Maine, a range of interesting ideas on potential missile shield cooperation, including the possibility of the joint use of the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan, in doing so the United States had to dismiss deployment of its missile shield elements in the Czech Republic.
The Gabala radar station situated in the north-west of Azerbaijan was built in the USSR as an important element of the Soviet anti-missile defence system. The ten year agreement to lease the station was signed in 2002.
In October, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brought additional ideas to Moscow. Last week the United States submitted its suggestions in written form to Russia. They will be discussed during the next round of talks.
"We understand the serious concerns of Moscow, though we do not completely agree with them and we do not think that the US's possible missile shield elements in Poland and the Czech Republic pose a security threat to Russia. They are intended to reflect the potential threat from the South, from Iran," he said.
According to the Ambassador, President Putin and President Bush make great efforts to come to an agreement and to turn differences over the missile shield into strategic cooperation.