Congo M23 rebels to return to peace talks after dodging previous meeting
The Congolese government delegation, right, sits opposite a row of empty seats intended for the delegation of Congolese M23 rebels, who did not turn up for the crucial meeting, at peace talks being held in Kampala, Uganda on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera)
Published Tuesday, December 11, 2012 8:43AM EST
KAMPALA, Uganda - A leader for eastern Congo's rebels says they will attend a meeting in the Ugandan capital later Tuesday with the Congolese government delegation after failing to show up Monday.
Rene Abandi of the M23 rebels told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the group avoided the Monday meeting because it was "a press event, not a meeting." The rebels' failure to attend the meeting threatened to throw the peace talks into disarray, with Raymond Tshibanda, the Congolese foreign minister, saying the talks will not be credible if the rebels disrespect mediators.
Tshibanda is expected late Tuesday to deliver a rebuttal to strong criticism by M23 Executive Secretary Francois Rucogoza, who charged on Sunday that the Congo government lacks "visionary leadership" and had not integrated former rebels into the army.