Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

U.N. withdraws Iran invitation to Syria talks

GENEVA — A last-minute U.N. invitation for Iran to join this week's Syria peace talks threw the long-awaited Geneva conference into doubt Monday, forcing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to rescind his offer under intense U.S. pressure after the opposition threatened to boycott.

With the invitation withdrawn, the main Western-backed opposition group said it would attend the talks aimed at ending Syria's ruinous three-year civil war. The opposition said the conference should seek to establish a transitional government.

The surprise invitation, extended Sunday by Ban, set off a flurry of diplomatic activity to salvage the talks. The United States said the offer should be rescinded, and the Syrian opposition threatened to skip the event entirely.

The conference is set to begin Wednesday in the Swiss luxury resort city of Montreux, with high-ranking delegations from the United States, Russia and close to 40 other countries attending. Face-to-face negotiations between the Syrian government and its opponents — the first of the uprising — are to start Friday in Geneva.

The uproar over Iran's invitation put the entire event at risk of being scuttled.

The Syrian National Coalition, which voted Saturday to attend after months of rancorous debate, issued an ultimatum, saying that Iran must commit publicly within hours to withdraw its "troops and militias" from Syria and abide by a 2012 road map to establish a transitional government. Otherwise, the group said, the United Nations should withdraw its invitation for Iran to take part.

It is not clear what exactly motivated Ban to issue the invitation, but it came hours after he said he had received assurances from Iran that it had accepted the premise of the talks.

Iran is Syrian President Bashar Assad's strongest regional ally, supplying his government with advisers, money and materiel since the uprising began in 2011.

The last-minute invitation appeared to take the United States and its European allies by surprise. Senior U.S. officials said Iran had not met the criteria to participate in the conference unless it fully and publicly endorsed the aims of the meeting.

In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying that Iran does not recognize the Geneva road map because it did not attend the conference that drafted it.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon briefs correspondents at  the U.N. headquarters in New York on the decision by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Armed Forces to participate in the upcoming Geneva Conference on Syria. He also said that he had issued an invitation to Iran to participate.

United Nations

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon briefs correspondents at the U.N. headquarters in New York on the decision by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Armed Forces to participate in the upcoming Geneva Conference on Syria. He also said that he had issued an invitation to Iran to participate.

U.N. withdraws Iran invitation to Syria talks 01/20/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances is in serious jeopardy after a last-second 31-28 home loss to Louisville on Saturday.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  2. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight

    Military

    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  3. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'

    Stage

    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  4. Police plan community meeting as search for Seminole Heights killer continues

    Crime

    TAMPA — With people in Seminole Heights on edge following three related shooting deaths on their streets, police have planned a community meeting for Monday.

    The three Seminole Heights victims, from left: Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32; and Anthony Naiboa, 20. [Facebook, family photos]
  5. Bucs-Bills: Tampa Bay's fatal habit of falling behind

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) recovers a fumble during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.