Syria’s Foreign Minister clarified on Sunday that his country is committed to having its key regional ally Iran attend a planned peace conference next month to which it has yet to be invited, reported AFP.
“Syria is committed to Iran joining the peace conference,” Foreign Minister Walid Muallem was quoted as having said.
“It is illogical that the United States or the so-called opposition excludes this country from the conference for political reasons,” he said in remarks to the state news agency SANA.
Iran does not figure on a list named by global peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for the January 22 conference dubbed Geneva 2.
“On Iran, we haven't agreed yet,” Brahimi told reporters on December 22, after talks with U.S. and Russian officials.
“It's no secret that we in the United Nations welcome the participation of Iran, but our partners in the United States are still not convinced that Iran's participation would be the right thing,” he said at the time.
On December 23, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said invitations to the peace talks would be sent by the end of the year and launched a fresh appeal for Iran to take part.
“The invitation list is near complete, I hope the question of Iran's participation is resolved soon,” Ban told reporters, according to AFP.
“As I have said before, Iran needs to contribute to peace in Syria along with others in the region.”
Saudi Arabia, a main backer of the rebels battling President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, is among the 26 countries invited to the talks.
Throughout the civil war in Syria, Iran has provided Assad with military support during his fight against the rebels.
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops.
An Iranian parliamentarian recently boasted that his country sent “hundreds of battalions” to fight in Syria alongside Assad’s troops.