ISTANBUL, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Syria's main opposition group in exile Syrian National Coalition (SNC) said here on Monday that it suspends its participation in Geneva II conference due to UN's invitation to Iran.
The SNC spokesman Louay Safi said in the announcement that it suspends the participation unless UN rescinds its invitation to Iran or Iran accepts the Geneva I communique.
The Istanbul-based coalition, which decided on its participation on Saturday night, threatened to pull out the peace conference shortly after Iran was invited to participate in the meeting.
The UN chief said on Sunday that he had invited Iran to attend this week's Syria peace conference in Switzerland, also known as Geneva II.
"I have decided to issue some additional invitations to the one- day gathering in Montreux. They are Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, the Holy See, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea and Iran," Ban said in the United Nations.
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Saturday welcomed the Syrian opposition's agreement to take part in next week's international conference in Switzerland to seek an end to Syria conflict.
In a statement issued here by his spokesperson, Ban said the decision was "a courageous and historic step in the interest of a negotiated political solution to a three-year conflict that has caused so much misery and destruction." Full story
DAMASCUS, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The countdown for the International Geneva II conference on the Syrian crisis has begun, as Syrian analysts deem it as the beginning of a solution despite the low expectations by the domestic opposition groups.
Elias Murad, president of the Union of Journalists of Syria, told reporters on Saturday that the Geneva II conference has become an international demand more than a Syrian one. Full story