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UN withdraws Iran's invitation to Geneva II

March 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rescinded on Monday evening his last-minute invitation to Iran to participate in the Geneva II conference slated to start on Wednesday in Switzerland.

Ki-moon announced the withdrawal of the invitation after Iranian officials firmly stated that they would not accept a conditional invitation and the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) insisted that it would not attend should Iran participate in the conference.

The US had also pushed for the invitation to be rescinded, saying that Iran could only participate on condition that Tehran endorse the need for a transitional Syrian government, as agreed at the Geneva I conference last year.

Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that the UN secretary-general had been calling for Iran to join the global peace initiative for Syria, but based on Tehran’s refusal to accept the Geneva I agreement, Ki-moon ultimately decided that the Montreux meeting would convene without Iran.

Immediately after Ki-moon made his announcement to rescind the invitation, the SNC re-confirmed its plans to attend the conference.

The conference is set to begin on Wednesday in the Swiss luxury resort city of Montreux, with high-ranking delegations from the US, Russia and about 40 other countries attending. The goal is to hold face-to-face talks between the Syrian government and the opposition.