Russian Federal Service: Too early to speak of failure of negotiations on Gabala radar station

Russian Federal Service: Too early to speak of failure of negotiations on Gabala radar station

The possibility for a compromise on the Russian-Azerbaijani negotiations on extending the lease term of radar station in Gabala still exists, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Konstantin Biryulin told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Major-General Viktor Bondarev said last week at a press conference in RIA Novosti that the Russian Armed Forces will lose little, if Russia and Azerbaijan fail to reach agreement on the lease. He said the station has no practical use and Russia is currently building its own stations, "which actually cover this direction".

"One should find ways to compromise and that can always be reached. Problem is whether the parties are ready to make this compromise and the extent which each of the parties is ready to accept," Biryulin said.

However at present it is quite difficult to predict the future course of negotiations on this issue, Biryulin said.

The Gabala RS was built in Soviet times as one of the most important elements of the USSR missile defence system. After Azerbaijan gained independence, the radar station become the country's property and Russia continued to use it. A 10-year agreement to lease the station was signed in 2002.

The issue of the Gabala radar station has frequently been a subject of internal debates, including in the Azerbaijani parliament. In early 2006, Azerbaijan raised the issue of doubling rent for the use of radar from seven million to $14.4 million a year.

In late 2004 the Ecology Ministry announced its intention to monitor the impact of the electromagnetic radiation of the station on the nearby countryside and health of people living in Gabala and surrounding areas. Various local environmental groups argue that the electromagnetic radiation from the Gabala radar station, affects both the environment and human health.

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