Iran will take part in new Syria consultations, UN says


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UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. confirms that Iran will take part in consultations on Syria that begin Monday in Geneva.

The U.N. special envoy on Syria has said these are not a new round of negotiations but a series of individual meetings with "as many parties as possible" to get a sense of whether another round of negotiations is feasible.

Iran's participation is important because it is a key ally of the Syrian government and did not take part in the two rounds of negotiations on Syria that failed.

Iran has been careful to say it would be interested in attending without preconditions, namely, the insistence by some parties that President Bashar Assad must go.

A U.N. statement says envoy Staffan de Mistura will lead the expected five or six weeks of talks.

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