Middle East

Iran must back Syria transition to attend talks: U.K.

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) attends the launch of the Scotland analysis paper with British Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander (R) in Glasgow on January 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN

LONDON: Iran must clarify that it supports the formation of a transitional government in Syria if it is to attend this week's peace talks in Geneva, Britain said on Monday.

"Iran must now clarify that they accept the basis of the (UN) secretary-general's invitation. This makes it clear that the only basis for anyone to attend Geneva II is to implement in full the June 2012 Geneva communique, calling for mutually-agreed political transition," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

Foreign Secretary William Hague, arriving in Brussels for talks with other EU foreign ministers, said it would be "very helpful" for Iran -- the Syrian regime's closest ally -- to publicly back a transitional government.

"The world will want to hear that from Iran," Hague said.

He warned that the peace talks "could be a long process, but it is important that it starts and it is important that the spotlight be put on the regime".

The Syrian opposition has threatened to pull out of the peace talks, furious that the United Nations has invited Iran.





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