U.S. says hopeful sides can now focus on ending Syria conflict

WASHINGTON Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:00pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Monday it was hopeful after the UN withdrew an invitation for Iran to attend Syria talks that all parties could refocus their efforts to end the Syrian civil war.

The UN said late on Monday it had withdrawn an offer to Iran to attend the talks in Switzerland on January 22 after Tehran failed to support a 2012 plan for a political transition in Syria.

"We are hopeful that, in the wake of today's announcement, all parties can now return to focus on the task at hand, which is bringing an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and beginning a process toward a long overdue political transition," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

She said the purpose of the conference was to implement a 2012 plan to establish a political transition in Syria.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton)

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