The United Nations has set a January date for peace talks between the Syrian government and rebel opposition. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the gathering on Monday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “The Geneva conference on Syria will take place on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. At long last and for the first time, the Syrian government and opposition will meet at the negotiating table instead of the battlefield.”

Despite the announcement, the opposition Syrian National Council says it will maintain its precondition for negotiations that excludes President Basher al-Assad from any political transition. It is also unclear if Syria’s key ally, Iran, will be invited to the talks. Speaking earlier today, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran is prepared to attend if invited.