News / Middle East

UN's Ban Invites Iran to Syrian Peace Talks

UN Invites Iran to Syrian Peace Talksi
X
January 20, 2014 9:26 AM
The United Nations has formally invited Iran to join the long-awaited Syrian peace talks, which are scheduled to open Wednesday in Switzerland.

UN Invites Iran to Syrian Peace Talks

VOA News
The United Nations has formally invited Iran to join the long-awaited Syrian peace talks, which are scheduled to open Wednesday in Switzerland.
 
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Sunday that he believes Iran "needs to be a part of the solution in Syria," and that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif assured him Iran understands the basis of the talks.
 
"Foreign Minister Zarif and I agreed that the goal of the negotiations is to establish by mutual consent a transitional governing body with full objective powers. It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux," said Ban.
 
Iran has long rejected that goal, set at a 2012 international peace conference, because a transitional authority would likely exclude Syrian President and major Iranian ally Bashar al-Assad.
 
The main opposition Syrian National Coalition does not want Iran to take part in the talks, and said on Twitter it would withdraw unless Ban retracts Iran's invitation.
 
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States remains "deeply concerned" about Iran's support of Assad's government, and that Iran must publicly accept the peace conference's goals or be uninvited from the talks.
 
Assad told the French News Agency in an interview published Monday that the conference must focus on terrorism, and that his forces are fighting an extremist group, not a popular uprising.

The Syrian government has routinely classified opposition fighters as terrorists throughout the nearly three-year-old crisis.

AFP quoted Assad as saying some of the opposition groups set to attend the conference were "created" by intelligence agencies in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France and the United States. Each of those nations is a member of the so-called Friends of Syria, which has supported the opposition.

Assad also said there is a "significant" chance he will run again for president, and that he will not hesitate to do so if the public supports his candidacy.

Ban has also invited nine other nations that have an interest in the Syrian civil war to join the talks. He said their presence would be an important show of solidarity.
 
The U.N. chief also welcomed the main opposition group's decision, now called into question, to attend.
 
The Syrian government said the issue of Assad giving up power is not up for discussion, so few experts expect the talks will reach this goal. However, they say they do hope the discussions will result in increased humanitarian access and local cease-fires to make life easier for Syrian civilians.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid