M23 snubbed by Kabila as rebels refuse to leave Goma

The Democratic Republic of Congo said it would not negotiate with M23 rebels in the east until they pulled out of the city of Goma, but a rebel spokesman said Kinshasa was in no position to set conditions on peace talks.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila met with M23 for the first time on Saturday after an urgent summit in Uganda where regional leaders gave M23 two days to leave Goma, which the rebels seized six days ago after United Nations-backed government troops melted away.

Eight months into a rebellion that UN experts say is backed by neighbouring Rwanda, the rebels have so far shown no sign of quitting the lakeside city of one million people.

The rebels say they plan to march on other cities in the east, and then strike out across the country to the capital Kinshasa, across 1,000 miles of dense jungle with few roads.

Amani Kabasha, a spokesman for M23's political arm, welcomed the meeting with Kabila but questioned the government's resolve to end a crisis that risks engulfing the region.

Reuters

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