Congo rebels want ceasefire before talks

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Associated Press

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 9 at 2:30 PM

GOMA, Congo (AP) — Congo's M23 rebels are calling for a ceasefire before continuing peace negotiations with the government.

M23 spokesman Kabasha Amani said Tuesday there was no agreement yet, and there were a number of points that still needed to be discussed, above all the need for a ceasefire, which he said was a precondition for negotiations. He was reacting to an announcement by the government delegation on Monday that a draft peace agreement was ready to be signed.

The M23 began in 2012 as a mutiny. Hundreds of soldiers, who previously belonged to another rebel group, deserted the Congolese army, which had agreed to integrate them into their ranks. The fighters routed government forces last November, briefly occupying one of eastern Congo's biggest cities, withdrawing only after the government agreed to negotiate.

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