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Russia Seeks New Lease of Azerbaijani Radar Site

By VOA News
12 March 2009

Russia said it wants to renew its lease of a Soviet-built radar station in Azerbaijan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking Thursday in Baku, said Russia would like to continue using the Gabala station after its lease expires in 2012. Lavrov's counterpart, Elmar Mamedyarov, said his government is not yet considering a possible extension and has no intention of leasing the facility to a third country. Lavrov also met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

The tracking station became a centerpiece last year of a Russian proposal under which Moscow would share the facility with the United States, as part of a missile early-warning system.

Russia says the offer still stands. The administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush had said the facility is too old to meet future missile threats posed by rogue governments.

The Russian military last month commissioned a new early-warning radar in the country's Krasnodar region intended to monitor Russia's southern flank.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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