Azerbaijan, Baku / corr. Trend A.Gasimova / The US Secretary of State is not sure that Azerbaijan will make any sense in Russian President's proposal made at the summit of G8 on 8 June joint use the Russian-leased Azerbaijan Gabala Radar Station with the US. "I can't do the geometry and the geography to know if Azerbaijan makes sense," said the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said in her interview with Associated Press and NBC News.
Answering the question on possibility of Azerbaijan's accepting the proposal, Rice said "Well, you know, we'd have to take a look at what our relationship is with Azerbaijan in terms of the stationing of essentially military equipment there".
On 7 June, as a result of the meeting with US President George Bush, within the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, Putin highlighted his proposal to jointly use the Russian-leased Azerbaijan Gabala Radar Station with the US. The station is part of the Russian system which tracks the movement of ballistic missiles. In response to the plans of the US to establish missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Russian President highlighted the key advantage of such an approach: the system will be in maximum proximity to the object being tracked and observed. Putin said that any new situation around Iranian missiles will be possible to observe through scouting.
Touching upon U.S.-Russia relationship, Rice said "I would say the U.S.-Russia relationship is complex. It's -- on the one hand, you've got a lot of areas of cooperation, particularly on nuclear nonproliferation, issues like North Korea and even Iran, where I think we've come a long way in our ability to cooperate with the Russians".
"There are also some areas of conflict, areas of tension. They relate, I think most evidently and broadly to issues arising out of the territories around the former Soviet Union. So when you look at Georgia or to a lesser extent even relations with Central Asia, there are sometimes suspicions by the Russians that we are trying to supplant them in an area in which they've had extensive influence. And we say, no, this isn't a zero-sum game, we just are pursuing good relations with Ukraine or Georgia or the countries of Central Asia," Rice said.
According to her, the USA is going to continue the discussions with the Poles and the Czechs and within NATO. "So I think on balance that the Russians want to engage," she said.
Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, stated in Baku on the 8th of June that Azerbaijan is prepared to commence consultations on the joint use of the Gabala radar station in bilateral and trilateral formats.