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Syrian government and opposition agree to meet for first peace talks

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Syrian government and opposition agree to meet for first peace talks

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Syria’s government and opposition have agreed to meet for the first time in an attempt to halt the country’s civil war.

The peace conference will be held in Geneva on January 22.

The UN’s special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, stressed the peace process should start now: “It is a huge opportunity for peace that shouldn’t be wasted. This being so, we very strongly appeal to the Syrian government and the opposition not to wait for the conference, to do some confidence-building measures – diminish the violence, release prisoners and detainees of all sorts.”

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon added it was an opportunity that must be seized: “The only way to truly end the violence and suffering is through an inclusive, Syrian-led, political process. It would be unforgivable not to seize this opportunity to bring an end to the suffering and destruction it has caused.”

The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed in the nearly three-year-old civil war.