Annan Wants Iran to be Part of Talks on Syria (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 06/26/12)
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The United Nations envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, has proposed inviting
Iran to a multinational meeting to discuss a political transition in
Syria this week, The Associated Press reported on Monday.
U.S. officials told AP that Annan is leaving it up to the U.S. and
Russia to decide whether Iran can participate.
According to the officials, who spoke to AP on condition of
anonymity, Annan wants an “understanding” between Washington and
Moscow on Iran, other potential guests and the agenda before he
issues formal invitations to the meeting of an "Action Group on
Syria" that he wants to convene in Geneva on Saturday.
The U.S. is adamantly opposed to Iran taking part, the report noted,
while Russia supports its inclusion. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton has said Iran´s participation would be a "red line" for the
United States because it has been overt in its support of Syrian
President Bashar Assad´s brutal crackdown on the opposition.
Annan has previously said that Iran “should be part of the solution”
to the Syria crisis but has been coy about whether he believes Iran´s
presence at the meeting is vital.
He has now said that Iran would be part of an “optimum” roster for
the meeting, the officials told AP, adding the U.S. has not changed
its position on the matter. However, the officials stressed that
Annan also believed that a U.S.-Russia understanding is essential.
Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have discussed the
matter and are due to meet again in person in St. Petersburg, Russia
on Friday, but the officials said Annan wants an answer from the two
countries by late Tuesday.
The officials said Annan has also proposed inviting the foreign
ministers of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -
Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. - along with Iraq,
Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Annan has also suggested that U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon, the Arab League
secretary general and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton be
invited. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 06/26/12)
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