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Syrian opposition issues ultimatum on peace talks

First Published Jan 20 2014 10:30AM      Last Updated Jan 20 2014 06:58 pm
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The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name. But, their comments were similar to a statement the State Department issued on Sunday.

The officials spoke after Iran's foreign ministry said earlier Monday that it would attend without preconditions.

In New York, Russia's U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin said "of course" both the U.S. and Russia were consulted about the Iran invitation, and he said that if the Syrian opposition boycotts the talks, "that would be a big mistake."

The invitation to Tehran from Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon came after the U.N. chief said he had received assurances from Iran that it accepted the premise of the talks - to establish a transitional government for Syria, which has been led by the Assad dynasty since 1970.

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Diplomats and political leaders acknowledge that a quick end is unlikely for a conflict that has killed more than 130,000 people and touched off the worst humanitarian crisis in decades. The battle lines have been largely frozen since early 2013, and the Syrian National Coalition has little sway or respect within Syria's rebellion.

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AP writer Cara Anna in New York contributed to this report.

 

 

 

 

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