Russian Foreign Minister: The US’s threat suspicion could easily be removed through the radar station at Gabala

Russian Foreign Minister: The US’s threat suspicion could easily be removed through the radar station at Gabala
# 21 June 2007 15:35 (UTC +04:00)
Russia bluntly told the United States it saw no threat from Iran’s ballistic missiles and was perplexed how Washington could use this to justify a planned US defence system in Europe.
"We do not see any kind of threat from Iran," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after a meeting in Tehran of foreign ministers from Caspian Sea states.
"Thus, we do not understand why in order to justify the installation of a US anti-ballistic missile system in Europe you have to bring up the pretext of a genuine Iranian threat," he added.
The United States plans to locate a powerful missile-tracking radar in the Czech Republic as well interceptor missiles in Poland to combat what it says are threats to global security.
Russia vehemently opposes either location for the planned US system.
"On many occasions we have mentioned professional opinions, expertise and analyses about the absence of such a threat," said Lavrov.
Two weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed that the United States locate part of the system at the Russian-leased radar station at Gabala in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan.
"If, on the American side, there is a suspicion of such a threat, then Putin offered that such a suspicion could easily be removed through the information collected through the radar station at Gabala," said Lavrov.
The United States has said that it is examining Putin’s counter proposal for a joint Russian-US radar in Azerbaijan but US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has already made clear this would be no substitute for the Czech-based radar. /APA/
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