Ban: International conference is Syria's best chance for peace

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that an international conference is the best chance to resolve the current crisis in Syria and should be held as soon as possible.

The U.S. and Russia announced plans for an international conference regarding Syria in Geneva after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry met in Moscow. The two countries said they would work together to solve the Syria crisis politically.

"The US-Russian initiative to bring Syrian parties to the negotiating table is the best chance for a lasting solution that will deliver peace and save lives," Ban said. "It is essential that we do everything possible to ensure that this conference takes place as soon as possible. I urge the international community to fully commit to a political process."

The date, structure and participants of the Geneva conference are still being debated. Ban said that both the Syrian government and opposition groups are expected to send delegations, but noted it is unclear who will represent the Syrian people. The conflict in Syria has resulted in more than 93,000 casualties and 1.5 million refugees.

"There is an urgent need for the violence to end. Far too many lives have been lost already and the conflict has generated a huge and heart-rending humanitarian crisis," Ban said.