Ban Ki-Moon has described the Geneva peace talks as a “first small step towards ending the war” in Syria.
Speaking after the government and opposition met for the first time,the UN Secretary General warned both sides they must now be ready to find a political solution.
“The past three years have been filled with horror. The bombardement of civilians and towns, the use of chemical weapons, terrorist attacks, executions, disappearances, torture, killing and destruction. Enough is enough. The time has come to negotiate,” said Ki-moon.
The rival sides have promised to start direct talks on Friday despite fears that a standoff over the fate of President Bashar al-Assad could block the negotiations.
In a bid to narrow their differences, the UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will meet both delegations separately on Thursday.