Ban Ki-moon withdraws Iran's invite to Syria talks

UNITED NATIONS Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:19pm EST

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon gives a thumbs up sign at the end of the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria held at Bayan Palace in Kuwait, January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon gives a thumbs up sign at the end of the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria held at Bayan Palace in Kuwait, January 15, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stephanie McGehee

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday withdrew an offer for Iran to attend Syria peace negotiations after Tehran declared it does not support the June 2012 political transition deal that is the basis for the talks.

"He (Ban) continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva communiqué," Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said. "Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, (Ban) has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran's participation."

Ban said earlier that Iran's public statement that it did not support the 2012 Geneva deal calling for a transitional government for Syria was "not consistent" with assurances he had been given by Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau)

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