Iran rejects reports of secret delegation at Geneva II

Iran rejects reports of secret delegation at Geneva II
Thu Jan 23, 2014 08:56:46

Iran has rejected reports that it has sent a secret delegation to the Geneva II Syria talks in Switzerland following the withdrawal of the UN chief’s invitation for Tehran.

Iran Permanent Mission to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva dismissed the report in Israeli media as baseless.

Earlier, Israeli media had claimed that a secret delegation from Tehran was present at the conference.

The international talks kicked off in the Swiss city of Montreux on Wednesday to discuss power transition in Syria ahead of direct talks between the Syrian government and the opposition to be held after a one-day break in Geneva on Friday.

On January 19, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tehran had been invited to the Geneva II conference, but he later retracted the invitation under pressure from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the foreign-backed Syria opposition.

On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the UN chief’s move was “regrettable,” stressing that Ban rescinded Iran’s invitation “as a result of the pressure exercised on him.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also raised doubt about the success of the meeting in restoring stability to Syria given the presence of certain countries that back terrorism in the conference.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also expressed “disappointment” with Ban’s decision, saying such a move will “weaken the international efforts to overcome the crisis in Syria.”

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants operating inside the country.


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