Russia terms Iran exclusion from Geneva II conference a mistake

Eurasia News

MOSCOW: Russia said on Tuesday that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to withdraw his invitation to Iran to join this week’s peace conference on the Syrian crisis was a mistake but not a catastrophe.

In a statement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that believed the reasoning behind Ban’s decision to be erroneous.

The Russian minister pointed out that the demand that Iran committed to the communiqué was actually a demand to commit to its false interpretation, which claims that the document provides for a regime change in Syria. He said that the actual document contains no such provision.

On Monday, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon withdrew invitation to Iran to attend the international conference scheduled to begin at Montreux, Switzerland on Wednesday aiming at achieving a political solution to the Syrian crisis under pressure from the United States.

In a media briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Ban is “deeply disappointed” at Iran’s statements rejecting the June 2012 Geneva communiqué which outlines measures for a transition of power in Syria, and its key demand means Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will have to step down.

“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,” Nesirky said.

Earlier on Sunday, the UN chief said that Iran has been invited to the Geneva II conference. “As I have said repeatedly, I believe strongly that Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis,” Ban said.

But the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition were strongly opposed to Iran’s participation in the event. The US said that the UN must take back its invitation unless Tehran publicly backs the 2012 roadmap to establish a transitional government in Syria, and the so-called Syrian National Council (SNC) threatened to skip the Geneva II conference entirely.