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UN’s Annan Says Iran Should Help to End Conflict in Syria

United Nations Syria envoy Kofi Annan said Iran should play some role in ending the conflict in Syria.

“I have made it quite clear that I believe Iran should be part of the solution,” Annan told reporters at a televised news conference today in Geneva.

Talks are under way about a conference on Syria that may be held in Geneva on June 30, and on the formation of a contact group for the event, Annan said. He said he hoped that in addition to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- China, France, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. -- such a group will include “governments and countries with influence on one or the other parties coming together and deciding that they will cooperate and work together.”

“Today, honestly speaking,” he said, “that is not happening.”

While the U.S. agrees with “the general point that Iran should be part of the solution,” it opposes Iran joining talks while it is “playing a destructive role” by supporting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters today in Washington.

No Invitation

She said she didn’t interpret Annan’s comment as indicating Iran should be invited to participate in talks.

An official of Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office made the same point in an e-mail today, saying: “Annan’s line hasn’t changed. Nor has ours.” Bernard Valero, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry, said he couldn’t comment “until we see exactly what sort of role is envisaged for Iran.”

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