Syria peace talks good to go as UN withdraws Iran invitationUpdated: 2014-01-21 19:52:44 (KST)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon withdrew his invitation for Iran to attend the much-anticipated peace talks on Syria, set to begin in Switzerland this week, after Iran refused to accept a 2012 Geneva deal calling for a transitional government for Syria.
"The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with that stated commitment. Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran's participation."
The UN's controversial last-minute decision to invite Iran had threatened to jeopardize the talks before they had even started, as Syria's main opposition group - the Syrian National Coalition - said it would not participate in the talks, unless Iran, one of the Assad regime's major backers was disinvited, and Tehran stopped exerting a military influence over Syria.
After the UN withdrew Iran's invitation, the Syrian National Coalition confirmed its participation at the peace talks.
"The National Coalition welcomes the decision of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in withdrawing the invitation that was sent to Iran. The National Coalition also would like to confirm its attendance to Geneva II conference and its participation in it."
The peace talks -- involving some 30 countries -- are scheduled to begin Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland.
On Friday, talks between the Syrian government and opposition delegations will continue in Geneva.
More than 100-thousand people have been killed and millions more displaced since the Syrian conflict broke out some three years ago.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
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