UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations has expressed concern over the issues with Iran ahead of the Geneva-II conference, scheduled for later this week in Switzerland to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
Spokesman Martin Nesirky said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was "dismayed (and) deeply disappointed" on Monday and "currently, urgently considering his options" after Iran released public statements conflicting with what was reportedly discussed in private, resulting in their invitation to participate being withdrawn.
Iran, whose invitation was seen as controversial due to its backing of Syria President Bashar al-Assad, refused to support a process to form a transitional government, one of the goals of the conference laid out in the Geneva Communique issued on June 30, 2012.
"The secretary-general is deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with that stated commitment," Nesirky said.
"He continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva Communique. Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran's participation," the spokesman said.
The international conference is designed to find a peaceful solution to the nearly three years of fighting in Syria that has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people and produced 2 million refugees. < Geneva II was decided upon at a Russia-U.S. conference held in Geneva in 2012, though the date was revised many times before it was confirmed as beginning on Jan.22. The venue has also been moved to Montreux for one day due to a watch exhibition in the original venue, but moves to Geneva Jan.24.
Both the Syrian government and representatives of the opposition said they would attend the meeting and the joint UN-League of Arab States representative Lakhdar Brahimi was ready to mediate the talks between the two Syrian camps on Friday.
However, the move to invite Iran provoked a row, with the Syria National Opposition and the United States objecting, and the opposition threatening to withdraw.
"I have spoken at length in recent days with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif," Ban told reporters at a hastily-called and unusual Sunday evening briefing.
"He has assured me that, like all the other countries invited to the opening day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the June, 30, 2012 Geneva Communique, including the Action Plan (for a transitional government)," Ban said.
"Foreign Minister Zarif and I agree that the goal of the negotiations is to establish, by mutual consent, a transitional governing body with full executive powers," the secretary-general continued.
"It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux. Therefore, as convener and host of the conference, I have decided to issue an invitation to Iran to participate."
Then, late Monday afternoon, Nesirky issued a new statement confirming the importance of the Geneva Comminique, noting, "The Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012 remains the internationally agreed framework for ending the crisis.
"It is the basis on which the global community will gather on Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland, and the foundation for the negotiations between the Syrian parties that will begin on Friday in Geneva.
"Throughout the Syrian conflict, the Secretary-General has sought to do everything within his power for a political solution, which is the only path forward.
"He has consistently maintained that regional partners with influence on the Syrian parties should do their part in promoting implementation of the Geneva Communique, including the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers.
"Most recently, he has tried to ensure that all those who can contribute to the success of a Syrian peace process be present in Montreux to express their solidarity and support for the Syrian people."
He continued: "The secretary-general looks forward to joining the initiating parties - the Russian Federation and the United States - as well as the other States and organizations that will attend this long-awaited and hugely important push for peace.
"The Syrian parties, the region and the international community have an opportunity and a responsibility to end the violence and begin a transition towards a new Syria."
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