Moscow says offer to U.S. on joint radar use still stands

MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's offer to the U.S. to jointly use the Gabala radar station it leases from Azerbaijan is still on the table, a first Russian deputy foreign minister said on Monday.

"Our proposal remains on the table. The new U.S. administration will encounter serious problems with regard to the implementation of its third missile site plan in Europe. We are not exerting any pressure on the U.S. administration here," Andrei Denisov said.

He added that Russia's proposal was more "cost effective" than other projects since the radar station was already out there and could operate "for decades to come."

Moscow has strongly opposed the possible deployment by the U.S. of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as a threat to its security and nuclear deterrence. Washington says the defenses are needed to deter possible strikes from "rogue states."

US missile defense radar in the Czech Republic @Ria Novosti

Russia has offered the United States the use of its radar stations in Armavir which is about 700 km (450 miles) to the northwest of the Iranian border, and just 100 km (62 miles) to the north of Soch and Gabala in Azerbaijan as alternatives, but Washington said they would only be used as "supplements," if at all.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to retaliate over the U.S. missile shield plans in Central Europe.

NEWS @RIA Novosti

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