BAKU, December 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has suspended as of Monday, December 10, the operation of the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan, its Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It said no agreement on payments for the lease of the station could be reached at the talks with Russia.
“Since the Agreement on the Status, Principles and Terms of Operation of the Gabala Radar Station between the Governments of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation becomes ineffective from December 9, 2012, the Russian side presented a note to the Azerbaijani side on the suspension of the operation of the station from December 10 of this year,” the statement said.
Located 200 kilometres from Baku, in immediate proximity to the Iranian border, the Gabala (more commonly known as Daryal) radar station constantly monitors outer space in the southern hemisphere. It also monitors the air- and outer space above Iran, Turkey, India, Iraq, Pakistan, part of China and a number of other Asian and African countries.
The radar was one of the main suppliers of information during conflicts in the Persian Gulf.
The radar facility is an 18-storey structure, whose height is 128 meters. The 300-megawatt relay centre matches the power of a large electric power plant.
Daryal ensures Russia’s nuclear safety. Radar returns can be used in the interest of defence, science and economy.
On June 7, 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed during the G-8 summit in Germany to jointly use the Gabala radar, if Washington scrapped its plans to build missile defence facilities in Eastern Europe.
Representatives of the previous U.S. administration gave a cool response to the Russian offer, citing the disadvantageous location of the radar and its obsolete equipment.
Under the Russian-Azerbaijani agreement, signed in January 2002, this facility, officially called “Daryal Radar,” was granted the status of information-analytical centre, leased to Russia for ten years.