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Russia seeks to extend lease agreement for Azerbaijan radar

RIA Novosti

12/03/2009 15:23 BAKU, March 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister told his Azerbaijani counterpart on Thursday that Russia wants to continue using the Gabala early-warning radar after the current lease expires in 2012.

"Russia is interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan in using the Gabala radar station, and will seek appropriate agreements with our Azerbaijani colleagues," Sergei Lavrov told reporters after a meeting with Elmar Mamedyarov.

The Azerbaijani diplomat said his country has no plans to transfer the facility to third countries after the lease expires.

"The transfer of the Gabala radar station is not on the agenda," Mamedyarov said.

He also said the sides had discussed "all aspects of relations between Azerbaijan and Russia."

Russia strongly opposes the possible deployment by the U.S. of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, considering them a threat to its security and nuclear deterrence, and has offered the United States the use of radar stations in Armavir in southern Russia and Gabala in Azerbaijan as alternatives.

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