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UN Sets January 22 for Syria Peace Talks

The United Nations says a long-awaited Syrian peace conference will be held January 22 in Geneva.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the date Monday, saying he expects the Syrian government and opposition to attend with a "serious intention" to end the country's war.

Mr. Ban added that it would be "unforgivable not to seize this opportunity."

The goal of the talks is for the two sides to agree on a political settlement that includes a transitional authority with full executive powers.

For months, the proposed conference has been delayed over questions about who would attend, and under what conditions.

The U.N. statement did not include any details about who will participate, but said Mr. Ban expects "all regional and international partners" to show their support for constructive talks.

The Syrian conflict began in March 2011 as peaceful protests calling for reforms, part of a wave of popular uprisings spreading across the Middle East and North Africa. The situation evolved into a civil war that has killed more than 120,000 people and forced millions from their homes.