The U.N. point man on Syria says it's too soon for another peace conference in Geneva and is inviting Syrians to hold intensive talks on key issues including a political transition and fighting terrorism.

Staffan de Mistura told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the U.N.'s hope is that when Syrians come together to talk they can set out "an irreversible path toward a genuine political solution."

The U.N. special envoy said "the most polarizing element" in a 2012 roadmap to peace is the formation of a transitional governing with full executive powers.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the death toll in the more than four-year-old conflict has risen to at least 250,000 and stressed that the Syrian people must not be condemned to more turmoil and despair.