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UN: Ceasefire in Syria needed before political talks begin
UNITED NATIONS - The fighting in Syria must cease before political negotiations on a transitional government to restore peace to the war-ravaged country can commence, UN 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 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.
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