Azerbaijan, Baku, May 19 / Trend , E. Tariverdiyeva/
Gabala radar will be important for the U.S. missile defense system in future, U.S. expert on security Yannis Stivachtis said.
"The Gabala radar will be important for US military and intelligence operations in Central Asia," Director on International Relations at University of Virginia Stivachtis wrote to Trend in an email.
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III told Congress on June 16 that the Obama administration is exploring ways to involve two Russian radar installations in a missile-defense system for Central Europe, Washington Post reported.
Russia proposed the United States to jointly use the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan and Arvamir missile detector station in southern Russia at the G20 summit in 2007.
Stivachtis said the U.S. is willing to spend money and upgrade the radar. The U.S. is also
willing to cooperate with Russia. Actually, the US in collaborating with Moscow
wishes to demonstrate that Russia is not a threat, he said.
"The radar is not to be used in "spying" Russia but assisting the two countries - but primarily the US - in dealing with intelligence operations and threat assessment in Central Asia," Stivachtis said.
Gabala radar station, which is located in north-western Azerbaijan, was built in Soviet times as one of the most important elements of a missile defense system of the Soviet Union. After Azerbaijan gained independence and move the radar to its property, Russia continued to use the station, despite all varieties of domestic political life of Azerbaijan.
Ten-year agreement on lease of the radar was signed in 2002. Question of the Gabala radar station has become the subject of internal debate, including in the Parliament of Azerbaijan. In early 2006, Azerbaijan raised the issue of doubling rent for the use of radar from $7 million to $14.4 million a year.