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Gabala radar station has 6,000km range - Russian defense minister

GABALA (Azerbaijan), January 25 (RIA Novosti) - The Gabala radar station, which Russia leases from Azerbaijan, has a range of about 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles), the Russian defense minister said Wednesday.

Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, told journalists that the station, the most powerful one in the region, made it possible for Russia's Space Forces to monitor launches of intercontinental ballistic and other missiles in Asia.

"We are covering the Middle and Far East and part of the African continent," Ivanov said, adding that the station's Russian personnel comprised 1,400 servicemen.

Ivanov dismissed the possibility that the lease agreement would ever be revised, saying that it already covered every detail.

Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev confirmed that his country would not revise the terms of the agreement, which will expire in 2012, even though Russia had revised its gas prices for the country.

The Gabala radar station was leased to Russia for 10 years in 2002. It is an early warning radar station capable of tracing ballistic missiles and other flying objects with high accuracy throughout the Southern hemisphere. The station, Russia's only military facility in Azerbaijan, plays a significant role in the Russian air defense system.

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