Congo refuses rebel demand for direct talks

GOMA, Congo (AP) -- Despite a nearly week-long cease-fire, fighting has erupted in Congo, north of the nation's capital.

A U.N. official says some international peacekeepers were caught in the cross-fire between Congo rebels and pro-government forces. But she says no casualties were reported.

Congo's government is rejecting the rebel leader's demand for direct talks to solve the crisis in eastern Congo. President Joseph Kabila's administration says it's "open for dialogue" with all rebel and militia groups, but not with Laurent Nkunda's group alone.

Those comments did not bode well for the troubled parts of Congo. As a rebel spokesman remarked, "Apart from dialogue, all that remains is war."

Fighting between rebels and the Congo government has displaced tens of thousands of people, leaving many of them desperate for food and aid.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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