YEREVAN, August 10 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s use of the radar station in Azerbaijan does not contradict the interests of Armenia’s security and favors improvement of the situation in the region, Armenia’s First Deputy Defense Minister David Tonoyan said in an interview, published by the ministry’s press service on Wednesday.
“With the strategic character of the Armenia-Russia inter-allied relations, we do not at all consider Russia’s use of the Gabala radar station as actions contradicting Armenia’s security, but, rather on the contrary,” he said.
The Gabala radar station is a part of the Russian system of missile warning. It is located not far from the city of Gabala in Azerbaijan. The station used to be the USSR’s major element of anti-missile defense. As Azerbaijan gained independence, the station became its property, and Russia has been renting it. The agreement stated the station’s status as an information-analytical centre which is property of Azerbaijan and which is being rented by Russia for the term of ten years till 2012 with an option of extension. The rent term expires in December, 2012. Russia has been using the station to control the air and space in the southern direction and to warn about possible launches of ballistic missiles, including from countries like Iran, Pakistan and India.
In late July, Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was in Azerbaijan on a working visit, where he discussed, among other issues, extension of the Gabala station’s rent. Following the visit, Serdyukov told reporters that “Russia has drafted suggestions on further use of the Gabala radar station, including its modernization.” As he said, a working group will come to Baku to discuss with Azerbaijan’s counterparts technical issues of further use of the station. Besides, within two years Russia will finalize reconstruction of the Gabala radar station.