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Azerbaijan-Russia-U.S. radar consultations set for Sept. 15

RIA Novosti

31/08/2007 14:50

BAKU, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - Three-way consultations between Russia, Azerbaijan, and the United States on the joint use of the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan are scheduled for September 15, a senior Russian government official said.

"We expect experts from the three countries... to start work on September 15," said Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin, who met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku earlier Friday.

Naryshkin said the consultations would be a key step to agreeing on the joint use of missile defense, and resolving disagreements between Russia and the U.S. on the issue.

The U.S. has said it wants to place a radar and a host of interceptor missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic to fend off what Washington sees as an impending missile threat from "rogue states," in particular Iran and North Korea. However, Russia regards the plan as a threat to its national security.

President Vladimir Putin earlier proposed the U.S. use the Gabala radar as an alternative to U.S. missile shield plans in Central Europe.

The Moscow-Baku agreement on the lease of Gabala expires in 2012, but could be prolonged.

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