#Geneva2 : “Iran Puts #Syria #Peace Talks in Jeopardy if Invitation to Attend is not Withdrawn”

#AceNewsServices says Iran invitation puts Syria peace talks at risk …………………………….

Published time: January 20, 2014 08:53
Edited time: January 20, 2014 13:52
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (RIA Novosti)Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (RIA Novosti)
On the eve of the peace talks on Syria, the Geneva-2 conference is on the verge of collapse with the Western-backed Syrian opposition threatening to boycott it unless an invitation for Iran to attend is withdrawn by 19:00 GMT Monday.

Syria’s main opposition group, the National Coalition, which had earlier bowed to Western pressure to join the talks that include President Bashar Assad’s government, is now saying it will not attend the talks if the UN does not retract its invitation to Iran.

“We are giving a deadline of 1900 GMT for the invitation to be withdrawn,” said Anas Abdah, a member of the Coalition’s political committee, told Reuters on Monday. 

Iran was officially invited to participate in the long-awaited Syria peace conference scheduled for January 22, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Sunday. Tehran has agreed to send its representatives to Geneva.

We have always rejected any precondition for attending the Geneva 2 meeting on Syria … Based on the official invitation that we have received, Iran will attend Geneva 2 without any preconditions,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said, Reuters reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov supported the UN decision to invite Iran, saying that without the country the talks would be “profane.”

“Around 40 countries have been invited to the conference, including Australia, Mexico, Korea, Brazil, India and Indonesia,” Lavrov told a media conference in Moscow. “If Iran were not on the list, that would seem profane.”

Lavrov described the opposition’s statement as “capricious” and proof that it’s not genuinely interested in resolving the Syrian crisis.

“If one starts being so capricious… The government agrees without any conditions to participate in the talks, to which countries which directly provide the opposition with funding and weapons, including those not moderate at all, have long been invited. So what should it do, demand that those countries withdraw?”Lavrov asked. “Negotiations are about bringing to one table not those who you like, but those upon whom solving the problem depends.”

A Free Syrian Army tank drives through a street in Aleppo November 30, 2013 (Reuters / Molhem Barakat)A Free Syrian Army tank drives through a street in Aleppo November 30, 2013 (Reuters / Molhem Barakat)

UN peacekeepers in Aleppo is hoax’

Sergey Lavrov dismissed as rumor the information that UN peacekeepers could be sent to Aleppo.

I’ve never heard of this,” he said. “I think it’s another hoax. There are many who are willing to use any chance to let some international military forces into Syria.”

He recalled that the plan was to reach a deal between the Syrian government and the opposition so as to open safe humanitarian corridors to Aleppo in order to guarantee security to humanitarian agency workers.

Lavrov suggested certain forces have tried to use the humanitarian crisis as a pretext for military action. He said before that there were attempts at achieving the same purpose by “the artificially created chemical weapons crisis, when all of the blame for the provocations by the opposition forces was laid on the government.

On Friday, Damascus handed over to Moscow a plan for a ceasefire in the city of Aleppo, asking Lavrov to assist in passing it to the Syrian opposition in order to ensure the implementation of the plan.


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