The curtain raiser for the Geneva 2 conference on Syria on 24 January, a 22 January meeting in nearby Montreux of senior diplomats from 40 countries and organizations, nearly failed to take place at all after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced on 19 January that he had invited Iran.

This did not go down well with the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), which threatened to reverse its decision two days earlier to attend, or the US, which brought vociferous pressure to bear, with the result that Mr Ban rescinded his invitation on 20 January on the grounds that although Iran had appeared in recent conversations to back the goal of the conference – to implement the Geneva 1 communique of 30 June 2012 – he was “deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with that stated commitment.” (CONTINUED - 361 WORDS)