Syrian opposition urges UN to withdraw invite to Iran

Istanbul, Jan 21: Syria’s main opposition group in exile — Syrian National Coalition (SNC) — Monday urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon to withdraw its invitation to Iran for the upcoming Geneva II peace conference.

“We ask (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to rescind or withdraw its invitation to Iran. Otherwise, the Syrian Coalition will not be able to attend the Geneva II conference,” Xinhua quoted the SNC in a statement.

It also set a deadline of 1900 GMT Monday for a clear public commitment from Iran with pledge to: withdraw all troops and militia groups from Syria, be committed by all the terms to the Geneva I communique and with a positive commitment to Geneva II.

The Syrian coalition will make its final position based on the statement of the UN secretary general.

Earlier Monday, SNC spokesman Louay Safi said that his coalition suspends its the participation in the Geneva II unless UN rescinds its invitation to Iran or Iran accepts the Geneva I communique.

The Geneva communique calls for cessation of violence by both sides on the ground in Syria as well as the release of prisoners, freedom of movement for journalists, and full humanitarian aid access, among others.

The peace conference, aiming to find a political solution to the long-standing conflict in Syria, is scheduled to begin Wednesday.