NATO-UN Agreement Perpetuates Russia’s Perception of NATO as Hostile Block

Politics Materials 14 October 2008 20:46 (UTC +04:00)
NATO-UN Agreement Perpetuates Russia’s Perception of NATO as Hostile Block

Kamil Zwolski, a researcher and teacher at the University of Salford, United Kingdom, working in the field of European Union and international security, provided special comments to Trend

Leaders of UN and NATO signed an agreement on cooperation on 23 September during the 63rd annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, which aroused discontent of Russia. Dmitriy Rogozin, Russia's representative to NATO, said leaders of the two organizations had signed the agreement secretly "under a blanket in a lumber-room".

UN replied that the agreement with NATO had not required approval by member countries.

Kamil Zwolski's opinion: it is difficult to assess the agreement in terms of legitimacy, because NATO's officials insist that Russia was fully informed about the negotiations. Yet it would be desirable, especially in the wake of tensions over the conflict in Georgia, to make the process more transparent. It is unlikely that the agreement will have any negative effects on Russia, except for undermining its efforts to redefine the European security structure. By signing the agreement, the UN implicitly validated NATO as an important organization - something which Russia cannot welcome. 

The logic behind the UN-NATO agreement is visible, and it is similar to the logic behind the sole existence of NATO. - It is a wrong question to ask, whether NATO is necessary after the Cold War - said a NATO official during the lecture at the University of Maastricht in 2007. - We have missions in many different places around the world, we are there. So obviously NATO has a role to play.

Similarly, the U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas explained that the agreement is not about the new form of collaboration between the UN and NATO, but merely formalises the existing cooperation. NATO has been working under the UN mandate on a number of occasions since the end of Cold War, including operations in former Yugoslavia and natural disasters assistance.

However, if the agreement, signed in September, is only confirming the status quo, it can be surprising why the information about it was not published on the NATO website, which even has a special section called "NATO's relations with the United Nations". This fact perpetuates Russia's perception of NATO as a hostile block.

Opinions expressed in this article may be different of those held by Trend