By Thom Shanker
International Herald Tribune
September 18, 2007
American technical experts spent Tuesday inspecting a Russian radar station in Azerbaijan, but the director of the Pentagon’s missile defense program emphatically stated that the Soviet-era early warning system was incapable of replacing an antimissile tracking radar proposed for the Czech Republic.
The director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Henry Obering, pressed the Kremlin to drop its objections to American proposals for 10 antimissile interceptors in Poland and for a radar in the Czech Republic. In a speech here, the general urged Moscow to link its radar in Azerbaijan to the American system in Central Europe to assist collective security.
The visit to Azerbaijan by a high-level delegation of missile experts was a response to a proposal from President Vladimir Putin of Russia that the United States drop plans for the new construction in Central Europe and to use instead the Russian radar in a system to defend against a future Iranian threat.