U.N. sends invitations for Geneva conference on Syria

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent invitations on Monday to Syrian and international participants of the January 22 Geneva conference on Syria.

Ban's spokesperson said the list of invitees was determined during the December 20 trilateral meeting between the U.N., the U.S. and Russia. Ban will serve as the chairman of the conference at an international high-level format at Montreux, Switzerland on January 22. Negotiations will begin between the two Syrian parties at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on January 24. Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League joint special representative for Syria, will facilitate the negotiations.

The U.N. spokesperson said Ban sees the conference as a unique opportunity to end the violence, restore peace and implement the transition foreseen in the Geneva Communique in a way that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people. The conference is meant to establish a transitional governing body for Syria based on mutual consent.

The conference is the result of an initiative announced on May 7 by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. The initiative looks to bring together two credible and broadly representative delegations of the Syrian government and the opposition to the negotiating table to end the deadly conflict. If successful, the conference will result in the full implementation of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012.