M23 rebels spearheading conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have declared a unilateral ceasefire ahead of a second round of peace talks with the government .
The Congolese government however says it does not have much confidence in the rebel ceasefire.The rebels told a news conference in the Ugandan capital Kampala that they hoped the government would follow suit.
“We’ve been for peace… today we’re declaring that we’re in a ceasefire,” M23 spokesman Francois Rucogoza told the news conference in Kampala.
“Even if the government refuses to sign a ceasefire agreement we’ll continue with the negotiations,” he added.
M23 accuse Joseph Kabila’s government of failing to honour an earlier peace deal to integrate rebels into the army.
The rebels made rapid gains late last year. They seized the main city in the region, Goma, in November, but withdrew under international pressure.
The Congolese government and the M23 have been holding peace talks in Kampala since early December. However, the talks were suspended on December 21, after the parties failed to agree on an agenda. The two sides agreed to resume negotiations in January after the New Year holidays.