Syrian daily says Geneva peace talks are set for December 12

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A long-delayed conference aimed at ending Syria's 32-month conflict will be held in Geneva on December 12, a Syrian government daily reported on Thursday, citing diplomatic sources in Paris.

The Al-Watan newspaper said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had told his French counterpart Laurent Fabius that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would announce the date on November 25.

It said that a source in the Syrian government declined to confirm the report.

The international community has been seeking for months to convene a Syria peace conference dubbed “Geneva II” but proposed dates have come and gone with no progress.

Munzer Aqbiq, an adviser to Ahmed Jarba, president of the opposition National Coalition, told AFP that a date for the talks had still to be finalized.

“The organizers of Geneva II want the conference to be held before the end of the year. Dates have been proposed around mid-December. These not are not official dates. They are proposals which must be discussed,” Aqbiq said.

More than 120,000 people have been killed in the armed uprising that erupted in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad's forces launched a brutal crackdown on protests inspired by the 2011 Arab Spring.

The opposition wants Assad's departure from power to be a condition of any peace talks, while the regime has said the president's role will not be on the table.

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