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Ceasefire needed for political talks on Syria to begin -U.N.

Source: Reuters - Mon, 16 Dec 2013 05:08 PM
Author: Reuters
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UNITED NATIONS, Dec 16 (Reuters) - The fighting in Syria must cease before political negotiations on a transitional government to restore peace to the war-ravaged country can commence, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.

"We must have a cessation of hostilities before we begin political dialogue on Syria in Geneva," Ban told reporters in New York. "This fighting must stop."

Representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and the opposition fighting to oust him are scheduled to meet with peace mediator Lakhdar Brahimi in Switzerland on Jan. 22 to discuss ways of ending the more than 2-1/2-year-old civil war. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Chris Reese)

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