Jan 20 2014 - 11:00

UN's Ban urgently considering options on Syria peace talks

UN's Ban urgently considering options on Syria peace talks Lebanon, news ,lbci ,أخبار
UN's Ban urgently considering options on Syria peace talks
Lebanon News

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "urgently considering his options" after Tehran suggested on Monday it does not support the June 2012 deal which is the basis for Syria peace talks and the Syrian opposition threatened to withdraw if Iran attended.
"The secretary-general was deeply disappointed by Iranian statements today that are not consistent with the assurances he received regarding Iranian support for the Geneva communique," Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters, referring to a June 2012 plan for a political transition in Syria.
"The secretary-general is currently urgently considering his options in light of the disappointing reaction of some participants," Nesirky said, adding that Ban was also disappointed that the Syrian opposition had conditioned its participation on the withdrawal of Iran's invitation.

Earlier, Ban said  that there were heated discussions underway regarding this week's planned peace conference on Syria after the Syrian opposition threatened to pull out because Ban invited Iran.
He also said that he had invited Iran to attend the first day of talks on Jan. 22 in Montreux, Switzerland and that Tehran had pledged to play a "positive and constructive role" if it was asked to participate.          

Ban said he had spoken at length with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in recent days. "Foreign Minister Zarif and I agreed that the goal of the negotiations is to establish by mutual consent a transitional governing body with a full executive powers," Ban said.        

Ban also said he had invited on Sunday a total of 10 additional countries to attend on Jan. 22 - the Vatican, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea and Iran. Speaking to reporters at UN headquarters, Ban made clear that the full negotiations between the government and opposition would begin in earnest on Jan. 24 in Geneva.       

This as the  United States insisted it expects the United Nations to withdraw an invitation to Iran to attend Syrian peace talks unless Tehran fully supports a 2012 agreement that establishes a transition government in Syria.
A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the chance of the Jan. 22 peace conference going ahead was still "fluid" given Iran had not fully endorsed the Geneva 1 agreement from 2012 to end the conflict.
The official said Iran was providing substantial military  and economic support for President Bashar al-Assad and Tehran's participation in peace talks would not be helpful.
In turn, Iran rebuffed a precondition for taking part in Syria peace talks in Geneva this week, saying it could not accept a plan for a Syrian political transition agreed at talks in the Swiss city in 2012, the ISNA news agency reported.

"Setting such a condition to accept the Geneva 1 agreement for attending at the Geneva 2 meeting is rejected and unacceptable," ISNA quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hosein Amirabdollahian as saying.   

"Iran will attend the talks without any precondition based on an invitation by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon."

Meanwhile, Syria's main opposition body, the National Coalition, said will not attend peace talks in Switzerland scheduled for this week unless the United Nations retracts its invitation to Iran by 1900 GMT on Monday.              

For its part, the Saudi Press Agency reported that Saudi Arabia believes Iran is not eligible to attend Syria peace talks to be held in Geneva because it did not publicly agree to a previous conference calling for a transitional government.          

France also said that Iran should not be allowed to attend the Syria peace talks if it did not accept the creation of a transitional government with full executive powers.              

Some 130,000 people have been killed and a quarter of Syrians driven from their homes in the civil war, which began with peaceful protests against 40 years of Assad family rule and has descended into a sectarian conflict, with the opposing sides armed and funded by Sunni Arab states and Shi'ite Iran.

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