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Moscow says Iran’s absence from Geneva II to undermine Syria peace efforts

January 21, 2014, 18:42 UTC+3 21

Iran is capable of playing a significant role in the promotion of the peace process in Syria - Russia's Foreign Ministry

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Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich

© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov


MOSCOW, January 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow believes that UN secretary general’s decision to revoke his invitation to Iran for Geneva II talks will “undermine international efforts on the Syrian crisis settlement,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier extended an invitation for Iran to take part in the internationally mediated talks on the settlement of the ongoing conflict in Syria only to revoke it earlier on Monday. As soon as the invitation was retracted, Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, gave its consent to take part in the Geneva II peace negotiations, slated to start Wednesday in Switzerland’s Montreux.

“We have repeatedly stated that all key states, which have influence on the developments in Syria, should participate in the Geneva II talks,” Alexander Lukashevich said. “Iran is capable of playing a significant role in the promotion of the peace process in Syria as well as in the achievement of relevant agreements between the Syrian [conflicting] sides.”

The diplomat added that “Tehran had also repeatedly stated its readiness to take part in the work within the frames of the Geneva II conference to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Syrian issue.”

According to Lukashevich, the Syrian opposition once again added confusion to the upcoming conference by “keeping up with its policy of ultimatums and preconditions,” which they set forward as a guarantee for their participation in the internationally-brokered talks on the conflict settlement.

Earlier in the day, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ban’s revocation of the invitation was a “mistake,” but there was nothing “catastrophic about it,” although the move did not add to the UN’s prestige.

Lavrov said that “the withdrawal of the invitation for Iran came upon a demand from those who insist that the [2013] Geneva communique and its implementation must result in the change of power [in Syria].”

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