UN chief invites Iran to Geneva II confab on Syria

346591_UN-chief-BanUnited Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the Islamic Republic of Iran has been invited to the Geneva II conference on the crisis in Syria.

On Sunday, the UN chief made the announcement at the UN headquarters in New York.

“As I have said repeatedly, I believe strongly that Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis,” the UN chief said.

Ban added that he held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif regarding the matter.
“I have spoken at length in recent days with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mr. Javad Zarif. He has assured me that like all the other countries, invited to the opening day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the June 30, 2012 communiqué, including the action plan,” Ban said.

The 2012 Geneva communiqué outlines measures for a peaceful transition of power in Syria.

The UN chief said Tehran has accepted the invitation though no official statement has been published by Iranian officials so far.

Iran has previously said that it would not attend the conference if conditions are set for its participation.

On Thursday, the Iranian foreign minister described as unacceptable any preconditions for the Islamic Republic’s participation in the talks.

The Geneva II conference will kick off in the Swiss city of Montreux on January 22 and then move to the UN headquarters in Geneva on January 24 after a one-day break.

The talks are aimed at finding a political solution to the deadly crisis that has gripped Syria since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

The UN says more than four million Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country that has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions so far.

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