UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- The joint UN-Arab League special representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi on Friday said that a list of invitees has been agreed to for the Jan. 22 International Conference for Syria, except for Iran.
Brahimi made the statement during a press conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, following his meetings there, first with the United States and Russia and then with a wider group of countries, said Farhan Haq, the acting UN deputy spokesman, at a daily news briefing here.
According to Haq, the invitees will include the United Nations, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the League of Arab States, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and 26 other countries.
The conference, scheduled to open in the Swiss city of Montreux, will bring the Syrian government and the opposition to a negotiating table for the first time since the conflict started in March 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the violence.
Earlier this year, Brahimi invited Iran to take part in the international peace conference on Syria, also known as the Geneva II, but the invitation met with strong opposition from the U.S. The Syrian opposition also opposed Iran's participation in the long-awaited peace conference.
Russia has repeatedly stressed that Syria's crisis could not be settled without Iran engagement.
The goal of the so-called "Geneva II" conference will be to achieve a political solution to the conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the Syrian government and the opposition for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012, which called for the creation of a transitional government that would lead to holding elections.
The conference, originally scheduled to take place in Geneva, will now be held in two parts, with the opening session in Montreux, and then moving to the world body's headquarters in Geneva on Jan. 24 after a day's break.