News / Middle East

Iranian Invite to Geneva 2 Withdrawn

Jordanian Foreign Minister and President of the U.N. Security Council Nasser Judeh (r) listens to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at U.N. headquarters, Jan. 20, 2014.
Jordanian Foreign Minister and President of the U.N. Security Council Nasser Judeh (r) listens to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at U.N. headquarters, Jan. 20, 2014.
Margaret Besheer
After a brief diplomatic firestorm, the United Nations announced Monday that Iran will not be attending an international peace conference on Syria in Switzerland later this week.  

It began with a rare Sunday night news conference. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that after receiving certain verbal assurances from Iranian officials, he had invited them to attend the first day of a peace conference to be held in the Swiss town of Montreux, in which 40 other countries also will be participating.

But that announcement led to a backlash Monday from Washington, which said the invitation must be withdrawn unless Iran fully endorses the establishment of a transitional government for Syria with full executive powers upon mutual consent - a principle enshrined in what is known as the Geneva Communiqué from an earlier peace conference in 2012.

The Syrian National Coalition, the main Western-backed opposition group, also said Iran should not attend and it threatened to boycott the talks.

For its part, an expected statement of support from Tehran for the Geneva Communiqué was not forthcoming Monday.

This led to a flurry of diplomatic activity at the United Nations, with Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky telling reporters the U.N. chief was “urgently considering his options.”

A few hours later, Nesirky told reporters Iran would not be attending the one-day meeting in Montreux, ahead of the two-party Syrian talks in Geneva.

“The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with that stated commitment.  He continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva Communiqué.  Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran’s participation," said Nesirky.

Just before the U.N. announcement, the spokesman for Iranian U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Khazaee circulated a statement to reporters saying, “Iran does not accept any preconditions for its participation” in the Geneva conference. The statement said that if Tehran’s participation is conditioned on accepting the Geneva Communiqué, it would not participate.

Expectations for success are already low ahead of the Geneva talks, and Monday’s diplomatic tempest did nothing to raise them.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs