"Before such agreements are signed, their drafts should be submitted to member states for reading. But in this case this did not happen, and the agreement between the secretariats was signed secretly," Sergei Lavrov told journalists after a CIS foreign ministers' meeting in Bishkek.
The Russian diplomat said he had asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon while at the UN General Assembly last month why such secrecy was needed but "received no comprehensible explanation."
He also said it was surprising that although the document implied cooperation between the two secretariats, its text contained provisions related to immediate prerogatives of member states, including the intention to cooperate in maintaining international security on the basis of the UN Charter and certain international directives.
"We asked both secretariats what this could mean and we are waiting for a reply, but we warned the UN leadership in the strictest fashion that things of this kind must be done without keeping secrets from member states and on the basis of powers and authority held by the secretariats," Lavrov said.
He added that cooperation between the UN and regional organizations was in general a normal and necessary thing but said such ties must be transparent and arouse no questions.
Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said late Wednesday that Ban Ki-moon and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer signed the declaration of cooperation between the secretariats on September 23 during the UN General Assembly in New York.
Rogozin accused Ban Ki-moon of acting beyond his powers and pointed to a discrepancy between the preface and the body of the document, saying Moscow could not consider the document legitimate and would view it as reflecting the UN chief's personal opinion.
Rogozin said he hoped the issue would be raised in the UN Security Council and the secretariat, as well as at NATO because the document related to Afghanistan.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.