ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - Upcoming Syrian peace talks will be meaningful only if all relevant parties take part in the discussions, the White House said on Wednesday, adding that Iran's invitation to participate does not absolve it of any role in the crisis.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz, asked about Iran's invitation to the talks, which are scheduled for Friday in Vienna, told reporters: "The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict in Syria."
As for questions about any role for the Syrian opposition at the talks aimed and ending the country's four-year-long civil war, Schultz deferred to the U.S. State Department. But, he added, "Talks will only be meaningful if all stakeholders are present."
The Syrian opposition opposes any role at the table for Iran, the main supporter in the region of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the United States and others want removed through political transition.
Iran said it will attend the discussion, which also will include Egypt, Iraq and the European Union.
"The invitation for Iran to participate in these discussions should not overlook the underbelly of Iran's ongoing relationship with ... (Syria), including the propping up of the Assad regime and its continued support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah," Schultz told reporters traveling with the president.
(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Bill Trott)