Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to rescind Iran’s invitation to attend the Geneva II peace conference on Syria is “a mistake”, but “not a catastrophe”.
Lavrov remarked that: “Certainly, this is a mistake. We have always stressed that all external parties should be represented. However, it is not a catastrophe.”
The foreign minister noted that the upcoming conference, which convenes on Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland, will be “a one-day event where around 40 foreign ministers of various states, including from the most remote regions, have been invited.”
He added that, “Of course, despite the largely ceremonial nature of this event, Iran’s absence from the list of 40 invited nations cannot but cause questions.”
The Syrian National Coalition (SNC) decided last Saturday to attend the conference; however, the coalition threatened on Monday to boycott if the UN’s invitation to Iran was not withdrawn. After Iran’s invitation was rescinded, the SNC once again confirmed its participation in the peace talks.