Skip to comments.US to fund Azerbaijan radar stations: embassy
Posted on 09/23/2005 11:20:30 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
Sep 23, 2005 BAKU (Reuters) - The United States is to help its Caspian Sea ally Azerbaijan build a radar station on its border with Iran and another near Russia, a U.S. embassy official said on Friday.
The Pentagon has said its aid is to help Azerbaijan's navy protect offshore oil deposits and to combat terrorism. Iran has been angered by U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan in the past.
"The United States has provided funds for the construction of radar stations in Astara, on the border with Iran, and in the southern Greater Caucasus mountains, on the border with Russia," said the embassy official.
The official gave no details on what purpose the radar stations would serve or the size of the U.S. aid.
Ex-Soviet Azerbaijan and Iran dispute ownership over the South-West corner of the Caspian Sea, which is adjacent to Astara and believed to contain oil and gas deposits.
An Iranian warship in 2001 threatened to fire on an Azeri ship surveying the sea bed for oil company BP.
The Iranian embassy in Baku declined to comment on the U.S. aid. A spokesman for the Russian defense ministry in Moscow said: "This is a matter for Azerbaijan and the United States."
The U.S. has given Azerbaijan several coastguard vessels and held joint exercises in the Caspian with the Azeri coastguard and navy.
Russia leases a massive, long-range radar station in northern Azerbaijan, which was built under Soviet rule.
The Azeri town of Astara is on the Caspian coast, right next to the Iranian border. There is a town of the same name on the Iranian side of the frontier.
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