The United Nations said on Monday it would not issue invitations to peace talks between Syria's government and opposition set to begin on Jan. 25 until major powers pushing the peace process reach agreement on which rebel representatives should attend.
"At this stage the UN will proceed with issuing invitations when the countries spearheading the ISSG (International Syria Support Group) process come to an understanding on who among the opposition should be invited," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.
The countries driving the diplomatic initiative on Syria include the United States, Russia and other European and Middle Eastern powers, including rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.
UN diplomats say it looks increasingly likely that the UN-brokered talks between Syria's government and opposition will be delayed.
"Delay appears likely," one diplomatic source told Reuters.