The Democratic Republic of Congo government has agreed to a long-standing rebel demand for talks, to start on Monday, officials say.

Until now, the Congolese government has refused calls for direct talks with General Laurent Nkunda’s forces. Their advance in recent months has forced some 250,000 people from their homes, sparking a humanitarian crisis.

DR Congo and Rwanda also agreed to take action against Rwandan Hutu FDLR rebels based in DR Congo. Rwanda is accused of backing Gen Nkunda, who is an ethnic Tutsi, like many in the Rwandan government.

Gen Nkunda says he is protecting his Congolese Tutsi community from attack by the FDLR, some of whose leaders fled to eastern DR Congo after the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Both Rwanda and Gen Nkunda have accused the Congolese government of not doing enough to tackle the FDLR Hutu rebels.



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