A Syrian government delegation and the Western-backed opposition will meet together tomorrow in Geneva "in the same room", UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says.
Today's announcement came after three days of discussions between two sides that have not come face to face for talks in three years of fighting.
Mr Brahimi met separately with the two sides, hoping to broker peace in the civil war that has left 130,000 people dead.
Earlier the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said the government delegation would leave tomorrow if "serious talks" did not start.
Today was intended to be the first time since the uprising against president Bashar Assad began that the two sides would sit down for direct negotiations - peace talks that have been on the verge of falling apart since they were first floated in 2012.