Russia Urges Iran to Attend Syria Peace Summit

Posted on: May 17th, 2013 by ABC News No Comments

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — Moscow is putting pressure on Iran to take an active role in a conference planned for the beginning of June that seeks a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced together that they would spearhead an international peace summit on Syria with members of both President Bashar al Assad’s regime and the main Syrian opposition group expected to be in attendance.

During an interview Thursday, Lavrov stressed that its regional ally Iran, which is also close to al-Assad, can play pivotal role during the conference.

The top Russia envoy said, “We must not exclude such a country as Iran from this process due to geopolitical preferences.  It is after all a very important outside player…directly interacting and supporting one or other Syrian side in a political or other way.”

However, Lavrov admitted that Tehran hasn’t responded yet to his overture.  In fact, Damascus has also expressed reluctance to participate, which would undermine the intent of the conference.

Lavrov also accused some Western nations of trying to narrow the scope of the summit, saying this would also be counterproductive in finding a solution to the two-year Syrian conflict.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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