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UN: 'Urgent discussions' under way on Syria talks

By Cara Anna

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 20 2014 11:04 a.m. MST

The United Nations Security Council meets at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council on Monday morning that he will have more to say on his invitation for Iran to join this week's peace talks on Syria later in the day.

Craig Ruttle, Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. secretary-general says "intensive and urgent discussions are under way" around his invitation for Iran to join this week's peace talks on Syria.

Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council on Monday morning that he will have more to say on the subject later in the day.

Minutes later, his office abruptly cancelled Ban's scheduled comments to the media. He left the Security Council meeting without commenting to reporters.

Ban announced the Iran invitation Sunday evening.

Senior U.S. officials say the invitation must be withdrawn unless Iran fully and publicly endorses the formation of a transitional government for Syria that would pave the way for democratic elections.

Syria's main Western-backed opposition group says Iran must commit publicly by 1900 GMT to withdraw its "troops and militias" from Syria and abide by those terms, or the U.N. should withdraw the invitation.

Iran is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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