UN chief invites Iran to Syria peace talksUpdated: 2014-01-20 PM 9:56:56 (KST)
With less than three days until landmark international peace talks in Switzerland over the civil war in Syria, the United Nations has invited Iran to the table, an invitation that Tehran has accepted.
Speaking at a surprise news conference at the UN headquarters Sunday night, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis.
"Foreign Minister Zarif and I agreed that the goal of the negotiations is to establish by mutual consent a transitional government body with full elected powers."
Ban said Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif had pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in the negotiations.
However, the Western-backed main opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition isn't as sure.
They immediately condemned the invite, calling it a "deal breaker" and announcing they would withdraw from the talks.
It was just last Saturday when the main opposition group agreed to sit down side-by-side with the Syrian government, but their participation now remains in doubts.
The United States has a more complicated stance on the matter.
They support Tehran at the table, but only on a conditional basis.
The U.S. State Department has called on Iran to fully and publicly accept the Geneva communique, a formal mandate which was agreed upon in Geneva in 2012, adding that the invitation should be rescinded if Iran fails meet such conditions.
Delegtions from 39 countries will meet for the Geneva-2 talks on Wednesday in Montreux, with the Syrian government and the main opposition group possibly holding additional talks in Geneva on Friday.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.
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