Experts sceptical on chances for missile deal email@example.com June 21, 2007 12:12 AM ET
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, recently surprised George W. Bush, his US counterpart, by proposing co-operation on missile defence. While Washington welcomed the move, however, experts question whether both sides can find common ground.
Experts say Gabala can track a wide area stretching from Turkey to Pakistan, but not Russia, which is why Mr Putin has much to gain, and little to lose, by offering its use. Some have speculated whether Mr Putin would be willing to allow the US to place an X-band radar - which is used for precision tracking to help missile interceptors hone in on their targets - at the same site.
Richard Lehner, spokesman for the US Missile Defence Agency, says the US and Russia may discuss the possibility of placing a mobile X-band radar at Gabala when their experts meet later this summer. But he cautions that it would not be a substitute for the larger, fixed X-band that the Pentagon plans on placing in the Czech Republic.