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Iran Excluded As UN Sends Out First Invites For Syria Conference

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Kerry Open To Informal Iran Role On Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Israel on January 5, said Washington opposes Tehran participating at the ministerial level in Syrian peace talks set for Geneva unless it accepts that a future Syrian government will be formed by "mutual consent" of the authorities and the opposition.
The United Nations has begun sending out invitations for countries to attend a meeting on Syria due to start in Geneva in two weeks' time.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said on January 6 that Iran is not on the first list of invitees to the January 22 gathering.

But he said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet on January 13 in an effort to decide on whether and how Iran could take part in the conference.

Separately, U.S. officials said in Brussels that Iran could show it wants to play a constructive role on the sidelines of the Syrian peace conference by urging Damascus to halt bombardment of civilians and allow aid access.

The officials, traveling with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and AFP

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