Qabala / Gabala
[Lyaki / Mingacevir / Mingechaur]
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on 11 December 2012 that the Russian army will no longer rent the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan. Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the ministry, said that Russia stopped using the radar station on 10 December 2012. The lease, signed in 2002, was valid until December 24, 2012. Moscow and Baku have been in talks about prolonging the lease on Gabala until 2025 for more than a year. There were no proposals from Azerbaijan on resuming talks to prolong the lease agreement.
Russia's decision to quit the Gabala radar does not mean that relations between Baku and Moscow have worsened, Azeri Parliament Speaker Oktai Asadov said 11 December 2012. "When questions arose over the Gabala radar station, the two countries formed a commission. The sides decided to suspend the use [of the radar] following their negotiations. But it does not mean that relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are growing worse," he said. "This issue is being covered a little differently by the press. But this issue does not create any problems," Asadov said.
Russia will replace the Gabala radar with a new station in Armavir in Russia’s southern Krasnodar Region, then-commander of Russia’s Space Forces, Oleg Ostapenko, said in September 2012. The Gabala station, which has a staff of 1,100, is capable of tracking missile launches and trajectories over the territories of Iran, Turkey, China, Pakistan, India, Iraq and Australia, as well as most of Africa and parts of Indian and Atlantic oceans.
Baku wanted to increase the annual lease payment from $7 to $300 million. “This amount is exorbitant and totally unjustified; we will press for its considerable reduction. We still hope to come to an agreement,” a Defense Ministry source told Kommersant in February 2012. According to another source, Russia might as well evacuate Gabala, “If Baku fails to moderate its appetite.” Russia had expected to finalize talks by June 2012, because a new agreement has to be signed at least six month before the existing one expires.
Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said in February 2012 that Russia would continue talks with Azerbaijan on the radar station lease. "Talks on the Gabala radar continue. The first round was very constructive. We will soon agree with our Azerbaijani colleagues on the date when the Russian delegation will head for Azerbaijan to continue the talks,” the deputy defense minister said.
Construction of the Qabala radar station started in 1978 and was completed in 1984. The station was put into operation in 1988. The station occupies an area of 210 hectares. The station's initial capacity was 50 MW, and its target capacity is 350 MW. The USSR had nine such radar stations, the Qabala station and the station at Mukachevo in Ukraine) being the last to be constructed.
Daryal installation No 754 -- the Gabelinskaya radar station -- was located at Lyaki in Azerbaijan. The Stopor installation with its' 16-story radar building is located in Gabala. The radar was intended for detection of launches from the Indian Ocean. However, the radar is unable to process the information independently, and transmits it to the Kvadrat and Shvertbot installations near Moscow. Russia will probably have to pay rent for the land where the radar is stationed.
According to the Azerbaijani presidential decree of 16 December 1991 (ratified by the Milli Maclis on 8 April 1992), all military facilities and installations on the republic's territory have become the republic's property. The Azerbaijani parliament set up an expert group in May 1992 to study the radar station's impact on the environment. The fate of the EWS radar located near Gabala was on the agenda of negotiations between Russia and Azerbaijan held in Moscow in 1997.
In September 1999 the Clinton administration offered to help Russia complete a key radar site and to share American early warning data, if Russia agreed to renegotiate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so the US could build a National Missile Defense. Under the proposal, the United States would provide tens of millions of dollars to complete the partially constructed radar at Mishelevka, 60 miles northwest of Irkutsk, which is oriented eastward, covering northern Asia, including North Korea and the Arctic. Another possibility involved helping Russia regain use of the radar in Lyaki, Azerbaijan. Under the American plan, the Lyaki station might be jointly manned with the Russians, though the proposal had not been negotiated with the Government of Azerbaijan.
In February 2007 Karl Rahder wrote that "In an effort to apply retaliatory pressure, a member of Azerbaijan's parliament - the Milli Majlis - has called for a revision of the terms of Russia's use of the Gabala radar station in northern Azerbaijan. The Gabala station is reported to have the ability to track ballistic missile trajectories in the southern hemisphere and much of Asia, and is a critical link in Russia's early warning system....Pro-government lawmaker Zahid Oruj told reporters recently in Baku that he intended to raise the issue formally in March."
On June 7, 2007 during the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, President George W. Bush, and Russian President Vladamir Putin met to discuss a U.S. missile shield proposal to defend against rogue states. The U.S. missile shield proposal called for a radar system to be installed in the Czech Republic, and 10 interceptor rockets to be placed in Poland. Russia objected to these defense placements because of its close proximity to Russia, which it viewed as a possible security threat to itself. Russia was concerned that these defensive weapons, placed so near to Russian soil, could be easily converted into offensive weapons. Russia threatened to re-aim its own nuclear missiles towards European targets, if the United States continued with its original missile shield plan, threats reminicent of the Cold War.
However, on June 7, 2007 Russia stated that it would drop its objections of the missile defense system if the defenses were instead installed in Qabala (Gabala), Azerbaijan, at a radar station that, as of June 7, 2007, Russia is renting from Azerbaijan. The current lease was to expire in 2012, and the Russian Government rented the radar site from Azerbaijan for a yearly sum of US$7 million for use of the installation. The Qabala radar station was the most powerful in the region, and has a scanning range of up to 6,000 kilometers, and allowed Russia to monitor missile activity in the Middle East, Asia and regions of Northern Africa. Azerbaijan was once a part of the Soviet Union until August 30, 1991, due to the collapse of the USSR. The radar station in Azerbaijan is a Soviet-era early warning system to detect missiles.
The existing radar system does not allow the level of sophistication that is demanded of the United States in identifying missile threats, and distinguishing them from missile decoys. The United States seeks to install in the Czech Republic an X-band radar, which is used to guide antimissile interceptors, and allows operators to differentiate between the warhead, and its possible decoys. This conflicted greatly with Russian positions on the missile defense program. The Kremlin stated that the integration of the radar site in Azerbaijan would preclude the need for a radar installation in the Czech Republic, or anywhere else within Eastern Europe. President Putin claimed that the existing radar station could be integrated into the proposed missile defense system, creating a joint U.S.-Russian missile defense program.
In addition, Putin claimed that Azerbaijan would serve as a better location for such a missile shield, because the system could, "cover not only part of Europe but the entire Europe without any exception. This will fully exclude the possibility for the missile debris to fall on European states because they will fall in the ocean." President Putin also suggested instead using Turkey, or a sea-based missile shield system to defend against possible missile attacks. Discussions about the missile shield will continue between the two countries, and Bush and Putin discussed the missile shield issue further during their two-day talks on July 1, 2007 at the Bush Residence in Kennebunkport, Maine.
- Azerbaijan looks westward by Karl Rahder ISN Security Watch (22/02/07)
- Ecological Genocide: Russian Radar Causes Ecological Problems , Baku Zerkalo, 6/6/1998
- Russian Defense Minister Arrives for One-Day Visit , Sevindzh Abdulllayeva, Viktor Shulman, ITAR-TASS, 12/23/1996 -- A meeting between Azeri leaders and Russian Defence Minister Igor Rodionov will be held in Baku today to discuss a number of problems pertaining to further cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan.
- Baku-Moscow Deal on Gabalin Radar Station Near Completion, INTERFAX, 4/28/1995 -- A draft agreement on Russia's radar station at Gabalin (northern Azerbaijan) is near completion though the question of staff and the amount of payment to Azerbaijan remains unresolved.
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The location of this facility was determined only with some difficulty, given the abundant diversity of widely disperesed place names that area associated with this installation.
Lyaki ( 40.7994444, 46.4880556 ) Lyaki ( 40.5602778, 47.4258333 ) Mingacevir ( 40.77, 47.0488889 ) Mingacevir Stansiyasi ( 40.6383333, 47.0072222 , RSTN ) Mingechaur Sea ( 40.9, 46.8 , RSV ) Mingechaurges ( 40.77, 47.0488889 ) Stantsiya Mingechaur ( 40.6383333, 47.0072222 , RSTN ) Mingechaur ( 40.77, 47.0488889 ) Agabayli ( 40.4313889, 48.4338889 ) Agabeyli ( 40.5, 48.4166667 ) Agabayli ( 40.0630556, 47.3677778 ) Agabeyli ( 40.0630556, 47.3677778 ) Agabayyali ( 40.2125, 46.7888889 ) Agabekalendzh ( 40.2125, 46.7888889 ) Qabala ( 40°58'53"N 47°50'45"E ) Qabala Rayonu ( 40°55'00"N 47°50'00"E ) Qabala Müskürlü ( 40°32'49"N 47°39'04"E )
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