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UN leader urges Syria to accept opposition talks offer

Published on Feb 12, 2013 9:52 AM

NEW YORK (AFP) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad to accept an offer by the head of the opposition coalition for peace talks.

The offer by National Coalition leader Moaz al-Khatib to talk with "is an opportunity we should not miss - a chance to switch from a devastating military logic to a promising political approach," Mr Ban said on Monday in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"This was a courageous offer by Mr al-Khatib. I urge both the Syrian government and the Security Council to respond positively," Mr Ban said.

"It is time for a clean break from Syria's past, and for a decisive turn toward a future where Syrians are able to express their political views freely, without fear of arbitrary arrest or killing - a Syria where the human rights of all are protected.

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