Russia's decision to close down Gabala radar station is final - Lavrov

January 23, 2013 RBTH, Interfax

Russia's decision to stop leasing the Gabala radar station from Azerbaijan is final, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference summing up 2012 events on Wednesday.

"We were ready to negotiate, our Azeri friends decided not to lower the price, and we considered this price exaggerated," he said.

The station is through the closure process now, he said.

Azerbaijan and Russia ratified an agreement in 2002 under which Russia leased out the Gabala radar station for 10 years, with the annual lease payment of $7 million.

The parties started discussing the extension of the lease agreement in 2011, but failed to reach a consensus regarding the payment. A number of Russian media outlets said Azerbaijan first planned to raise the lease rate to $15 million, then to $150 million and finally to $300 million.

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier that the termination of the Gabala radar station's lease would not affect Russia's early warning system's efficiency.

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