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Kerry, Lavrov Say Syria Talks Should Occur This Month

The United States and Russia say internationally mediated talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups should begin this month despite no sign of an agreement on who will represent the opposition.

"We have no intentions to postpone the talks from January to February," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on January 20 after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Zurich.

The talks are scheduled to open on January 25.

Lavrov said the final decision on the date for talks to begin is for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to make on the advice of his special envoy for Syria, Staffan De Mistura.

The UN said on January 18 that it will not issue invitations to the talks until the major powers promoting the negotiations -- including the United States and Russia -- agree which opposition groups should attend.

The United States and Russia support opposite sides in the conflict

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said if the beginning of the talks was delayed by a few days, it would not be "the end of the world."

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa