Russia says Iran should be part of Syria summitInternational 8:29 AM
But the United States swiftly rejected the Russian proposal.
"It is better to involve Iran in the settlement (of the Syrian crisis)," Putin told a news conference yesterday following talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II on the shores of the Dead Sea.
"In any case it would complicate the process (if Iran is ignored)."
Wrapping up a one-day visit to Jordan, on a Middle East tour that had already taken him to Israel and the West Bank, Putin said Iran's support is needed.
"The more Syria's neighbours are involved in the settlement process the better. Ignoring these possibilities, these interests would be counterproductive, as diplomats say," he added.
"It is better to secure its support," said Putin. The United States said, meanwhile, that it was increasingly likely to join the international meeting on the Syria crisis but rejected Russian calls for Iran to take part.
"We are getting closer but we don't have any decisions yet," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington.
But concerning Iran she added: "Given its support for the regime and its continued behavior vis-a-vis Syria, we just don't see it as able to make a helpful contribution right now."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier told reporters in Jordan that Iran should be invited to Saturday's meeting in Geneva.
"It should certainly be done," he said, adding that he would take part in the summit.
If Iran is not invited "then all those who can really influence all the main Syrian sides will not be present," he said.
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, who wants to gather the major powers in Geneva in a final bid to get agreement on a political transition plan for Syria, has yet to officially announce the meeting.