SOCHI, Russia - France spelled out on Friday that it would oppose a peace conference for Syria if Bashar Assad's regional ally Iran is invited, clouding the prospect for a US-Russian initiative to end the two-year-old war.
No date has yet been agreed for the international meeting, which appears to face growing obstacles. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday and said the conference should take place as soon as possible.
Western leaders have been cautious about the prospects of the talks achieving any breakthrough, and Russia's desire that Iran should attend could complicate matters.
"As far as we are concerned, not Iran," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot told reporters in Paris, discussing who should attend. "What's at stake is regional stability and we can't see how a country that represents a threat to this stability could attend this conference."