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M23 accuses DR Congo gov't of blocking signing of peace agreement

KINSHASA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The rebel March 23 movement (M23) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) accuses the government of blocking the signing of a peace agreement in Kampala, the Ugandan capital.

"The government wanted to revise the document that had already been approved by the two delegations in the presence of special envoys on November 4," M23 said in a statement Tuesday after both sides failed to sign the document.

On Monday, the Congolese government delegation arrived in Kampala, but demanded that the agreement be changed into a declaration, and then, wanted it to become a conclusion of dialogue, the statement said.

The M23 group said the request by the government is unacceptable given that talks ended on Nov. 4 and the process to restore peace had already begun.

The group had declared an end to rebellion and the Congolese government had confirmed the development. The government also requested a five-day grace period to prepare for the signing of the agreement, the statement said.

"These steps were also approved by the summit of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) on Nov.5, 2013, during which the government promised to sign a peace agreement with M23," the statement added.

The Kampala talks between the Congolese government and M23 rebels launched in December 2012 were progressing slowly before a recent victorious offensive by the Congolese army supported by the UN intervention brigade. The operations dislodged the rebels from all their positions in the troubled eastern province of North Kivu.

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