UN invite to Iran sparks Syria peace talks stormAgence France-Presse . United Nations / New Age Online
The United Nations on Sunday invited Iran to attend this week's Syria peace conference, provoking a pull-out threat from the opposition and a warning from the United States.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Iran had pledged in talks to play a ‘positive and constructive role’ in efforts to end Syria's civil war.
But the Syrian National Coalition threatened to withdraw from the negotiations, due to start Wednesday in the Swiss town of Montreux, unless the invitation was retracted.
And the United States said Ban should withdraw the invitation unless Iran, a key backer of president Bashar al-Assad, gives ‘explicit’ support to the conference aim of setting up a transitional government in Syria.
Ban told a news conference he extended a late invitation after intense talks over two days with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
‘Foreign minister Zarif and I agree that the goal of the negotiations is to establish, by mutual consent, a transitional governing body with full executive powers,’ Ban told reporters.
‘He assured me again and again that Iran, if they are invited, then they will play a very positive and constructive role,’ the UN secretary-general added.
Iran's involvement would mean all key countries linked to the worsening war will be among 40 nations at the opening of the peace conference.
Talks between Assad's government and the opposition are due to start in Geneva on Friday.
The Syrian National Coalition only decided on Saturday to attend the conference and reacted with fury to the UN's invitation.
Spokesman Louay Safi announced on the coalition's Twitter account that the opposition group would withdraw ‘unless Ban Ki-moon retracts Iran's invitation.’
The threat came only hours after international leaders had hailed the coalition's decision to take part in negotiations.
The United States and other Western powers had opposed Iran's attendance at the meeting as long as it refused to accept a communique adopted by the major powers in Geneva on June 30, 2012, calling for a transitional government in Syria.
Washington made a new call for a clear signal from Tehran, a financial and military supporter of Assad, that it back efforts to set up a transitional government.
comments powered by Disqus
Terming the new government illegal, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Monday demanded fresh parliamentary polls as soon as possible under a neutral administration... Full story
Finance minister AMA Muhith on Monday squeezed the country’s gross domestic product growth to 6.3 per cent in the current fiscal from his earlier projection of 7.2 per cent... Full story
Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police held three Pakistani nationals along with bomb making manuals from the capital Segun Bagicha area... Full story
The cabinet on Monday okayed a proposal providing the Supreme Court judges with 50 per cent special allowance to their... Full story
The High Court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to six senior Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders in separate cases relating to the death of people in arson attacks in November and December last year... Full story
The High Court on Monday granted six months interim bail to detained Supreme Court Bar Association secretary Mahbub Uddin Khokon in connection with three cases relating to violence and homicide in the capital during... Full story
A youth died on Monday in unclear circumstances at the Sir PJ Hartog International Hall at Dhaka University (DU), police said... Full story
The BNP-led 18-party alliance and its component Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami on Monday called separate daylong hartals in Pabna and Bogra districts for Tuesday and Thursday respectively on separate grounds... Full story
Two Bangladeshi young women were allegedly gang-raped on a boat while crossing over to Gaighata in South 24-Parganas on Sunday, The Times of India... Full story
A Dhaka court here on Monday granted two-day remand to quiz a diplomatic correspondent of the daily Inqilab for what the prosecution argued to learn about sources the reporter had used... Full story
The High Court on Monday rejected the bail petition of Khadija Khatun Sumi, the maid of slain Special Branch inspector Mahfuzur Rahman and his wife Swapna Rahman... Full story
Some unidentified miscreants shot dead a businessman at Satkania upazila in Chittagong early... Full story
Police Monday recovered the body of another accused in the murder case filed with Nilphamari sadar police station in connection with the attack on Asaduzzaman Noor’s motorcade... Full story
Bangladesh on Monday included uncapped opening batsman Shamsur Rahman in a 14-man squad for next week's first Test against Sri Lanka... Full story
A local leader of Jamaat-e-Islami was killed in a ‘gunfight’ with police at Bandar village in Shashan ghat area of Sadar uapzila early Monday... Full story
Awami League MP from Tangail-8 constituency Shawkat Momen Shahjahan died at Sakhipur Upazila Health Complex early Monday. He was 64... Full story
Israel on Sunday began transferring bodies of Palestinian militants killed by Israeli forces to the West Bank for reburial, sources on both sides... Full story
Australia on Monday challenged its Twenty20 squad to use the England series to fight for a place in the side heading to the short format's world... Full story
A Taliban suicide bomber killed at least nine people in a market close to Pakistan's military headquarters on Monday, a day after one of the deadliest attacks on security... Full story
The United Nations on Sunday invited Iran to attend this week's Syria peace conference, provoking a pull-out threat from the opposition and a warning from... Full story