Tags: Iran | Syria | un | syria | iran | talks

UN Withdraws Iran Invitation to Syria Talks

Monday, 20 Jan 2014 04:27 PM

 

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The U.N. secretary-general has withdrawn his invitation to Iran to join this week's Syria peace talks, saying he is "deeply disappointed" by Iran's statements Monday.

A spokesman for Ban Ki-moon announced the withdrawal less than 24 hours after Ban surprised the United States and others by saying he had invited Syria's closest regional ally.

The withdrawn invitation came shortly after Iran's U.N. ambassador declared the Islamic Republic wouldn't join the Syria talks if required to accept the 2012 Geneva road map.

A spokesman for Ban, Martin Nesirky, says senior Iranian officials had assured Ban that Iran understood the terms of his invitation.

Ban is "urgently considering his options" in light of the "disappointing conduct of some participants" involved in the Syrian peace talks after he invited Iran to attend, his spokesman said Monday.

Martin Nesirky said Monday that Ban "is dismayed" at the developments after he announced the invitation Sunday.

Nesirky says Iran, despite assurances, "has made a disappointing public statement" that suggests Iran doesn't accept the terms of this week's peace talks in Switzerland.

Senior U.S. officials say the invitation must be withdrawn unless Iran fully and publicly endorses the formation of a transitional government for Syria that would pave the way for democratic elections.

"The statement today in Tehran by the foreign ministry spokesperson fell short by some measure of what the secretary-general expected to hear," Nesirky said, adding that the U.N. has been in close contact with the U.S. and Russians over the weekend.

He also denied that Ban's invitation caught the U.S. by surprise, saying Washington was fully aware of the timing of the announcement.

Iran is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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