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Congo peace deal signing stalls

By the independent team

The signing of a peace deal between Congo and defeated M23 rebels was delayed on Monday evening after the two sides disagreed on the wording of the pact, a Ugandan minister said.

“The DRC delegation has aborted the signing of agreement with M23,” said the Ugandan government spokesman, Ofwono Opondo, on Monday.

Kinshasa demanded the agreement be named a “declaration” and not an “accord”.

The agreement aimed at ending the Democratic Republic of Congo’s most serious conflict in a decade was due to be signed in Entebbe at 6 p.m. (10 a.m. ET).

“The stumbling point is the parties cannot agree on whether they are signing a peace agreement or a declaration. They agree on the content, but not the title. The Congolese government says it came here to sign a declaration,” Uganda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Okello Oryem told Reuters.

However, the DR Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende said the problem had come over the title of the deal.

“We want to sign a declaration, but the mediator, for a reason we do not understand, wants to impose an accord upon us,” Mende said. “If he changed his mind, even tonight, we could sign.”

Peace talks mediated by Uganda and attended by UN officials were taking place in Entebbe, Uganda. No date has been set for when the talks will resume.

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