Russia ‘close’ to extending Azerbaijan radar deal

Russia ‘close’ to extending Azerbaijan radar deal

Russia is likely to extend its lease on the Gabala radar complex in Azerbaijan on the current terms for up to three years, a source close to the negotiations told RIA Novosti on Sept. 28.

Media reports earlier this year said Baku wanted to raise its rent on the radar complex, a key link in Russia’s air defenses, to $300 million a year from the current $7 million a year. Russia previously attempted to extend the lease for 12 years, but media reports said Azerbaijan had raised rent on the base. The lease for the base, currently hosting approximately 1,400 Russian soldiers, will end at the end of this year.

Azerbaijan’s approach unconstructive: Source

A source close to Russia’s military command had complained recently to RIA Novosti that Azerbaijan was taking “an unconstructive approach” in the negotiations. “Now the talk is about extending the [lease] agreement for two to three years under the current terms, including financial terms,” the source said.

The Soviet Union built the Gabala Radar Station in 1985. After Azerbaijan gained independence the radar station become the country’s property and Russia continued its use. It is currently operated by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces. The complex, designed to detect missile launches as far away as the Indian Ocean, covers India and the entire Middle East.