UN chief, Russian-led security group sign cooperation accord
The United Nations and a Moscow-led security alliance signed a cooperation agreement Thursday to step up efforts to combat terrorism and international crime, DPA reported.
The Interfax agency said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon signed the agreement with the Collective Treaty Organisation (CSTO).
"The signing of the statement is a recognition of the authority of our organisation and it capability of making a contribution to international security," CSTO General Secretary Nikolai Bordyusha said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in talks with Ban, commented that agreement forms the basis for firming up relations between the UN and CSTO. Among others, it would make it possible to cooperate in battling the drug trade in Afghanistan, he said.
The agreement comes as Ban began a visit to Moscow culminating in Friday's meeting of the Mideast Quartet.
In talks with President Dmitry Medvedev, Ban praised the progress made in the nuclear reduction talks between the US and Russia. He said he hoped US President Barack Obama and Medvedev would be signing a follow-up accord to the START-1 treaty which expired last December.
"I hope so," was Medvedev's remark - in English - to Ban's comments on the prospects for a new nuclear treaty.
The CSTO, set up in 2002, consists of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan. and Uzbekistan.
The CSTO is the successor to the previous security group CST of the Commonwealth of Independent States comprised of Russia and other ex-Soviet republics.