Azerbaijan, Baku /corr. Trend E.Huseynov / The United States welcomes the readiness of Azerbaijan to discuss with Washington the recent proposal of the Russian President regarding the joint use of the Russian-leased Azerbaijan Gabala Radar Station with the US, in response to the plans of the US establishing a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
"We can only welcome Azerbaijan's readiness to comprehensively discuss the proposal with the USA," stated the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Matthew Bryza, in his interview with Russian service of Voice of America.
On the 7th of 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 a 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.
Bryza quoted the recent statement of the US President's Advisor for National Security, Steven Heddle, that the US administration was surprised of the proposal from the Russian President. "We would never discuss the proposal without initial consultations with Baku. Generally we assess this proposal as a positive signal that Russia truely wishes to co-operate with the USA in regards to the missile-defense system. It needs to believe that we all understand the real threat of the Iranian missile attack towards Europe and possibly to Russia. If the threats of attack are real, it is important to co-operate in order to avoid it," Bryza said.
He stressed that he made consultations with his Azerbaijani colleagues in regards to the proposal from the Russian President. "I believed that like us, they have also been surprised of the initiative from the Russian president. Azerbaijan and Russia itself should attentively discuss how the Russian President's proposal is strong-willed in practice," Bryza stressed.
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 requested to use it. A ten-year agreement to rent the station was signed in 2002. At the end of 2004 the Ministry of Ecology stated its intention of monitoring the impact of electro-magnetic radiation on both nature and human health. Different local ecologic organizations urge that the electro-magnetic radiation escaping the Gabala RS has had a negative impact on the environment and human health.