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UN chief: Iran should attend Syria confab

24 December 2013 8:48

341578_UN-chief-BanUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Iran should be invited to the long-awaited international conference aimed at achieving a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

“Iran can play a very important role. It’s a very important regional power. Therefore, logically speaking, and practically and realistically, they should be a part of this meeting,” Ban said at a news conference at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday.

Ban further noted that some members of the UN Security Council are however opposed to Iran’s participation in Syria peace talks, hoping that the issue is resolved soon.

“As I have said before, Iran needs to contribute to peace in Syria along with others in the region,” Ban pointed out.

The UN chief added that invitations for the Geneva II conference on Syria crisis are ready to be sent out “soon” and all of the participants must commit themselves to the outcome of the talks.

Also on Monday, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee for International Affairs, Alexei Pushkov, stated that the internationally brokered peace talks between Syria’s warring sides next month will be incomplete without Iran.

On Saturday, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi stressed the necessity of Iran’s participation in the peace conference.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Friday that Iran should be invited to the Geneva II talks, emphasizing that the Syrian crisis could not be settled without Iran’s engagement.

Moreover, UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi told media on Friday that Iran’s participation in the Syria peace conference has not been decided yet due to the US opposition.

On November 25, the UN set January 22, 2014, as the date for the talks.

The conference is scheduled to be held in Switzerland in two parts. On January 22, the opening session of the event will be in the Swiss city of Montreux and then it will be moved to the UN office in Geneva on January 24.

Syria has been gripped by a deadly crisis since 2011. Reports indicate that the Western powers and their regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the violence.

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