UN's Ban presses Obama to accept Iran into talks on Syria
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pressed the U.S. to accept Iran as part of a broader coalition of nations discussing the violence in Syria and the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, Bloomberg reported.
"It is better to have broader participants," Ban told reporters late yesterday at the Group of 20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. Asked specifically about including Syrian ally Iran in negotiations, he said, "yes."
Ban's comments came hours after U.S. President Barack Obama said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to work with "all interested parties" to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. Obama didn't address whether Iran should take part in the talks, as Russia proposed last week.
The U.S. and Russian leaders, who met for the first time in almost three years, have clashed on how to tackle the 15-month Syrian crisis that has claimed more than 10,000 lives.
While Obama has called on Assad to step aside, Russia - has blocked UN Security Council resolutions against his regime and accused the U.S. and its allies of trying to duplicate the overthrow of Libya's Muammar Qaddafi.
"We agreed on the need for a cessation of the violence," Obama told reporters after the session yesterday, which lasted two hours.
"We have found many common points on this issue," Putin said, adding that the two sides will continue discussions.
In a joint written statement, the leaders of the world's two biggest nuclear powers expressed support for "moving forward on political transition to a democratic, pluralistic political system that would be implemented by the Syrians themselves."
The impasse has triggered frustration among the international community, including Ban, who met with Obama yesterday and will see Putin today.
The UN suspended its observer mission in Syria on June 16 because of escalating violence and withdrew personnel to bases within the country.
Russia also has been at loggerheads with the U.S. over efforts to enlist Shiite Muslim Iran, as a neighbor with influence over Assad's minority Alawite regime, in efforts to end the strife.
Clinton on June 12 said it would be a "grave error" because Iran has trained and supported Syrian government forces and Alawite militias blamed for civilian massacres.
Edited by: S. Isayev