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DRC Gov't and Rebels Try to Work Out Last Details of Peace Deal


Militia groups and government negotiators are discussing possible last-minute changes to a planned peace deal in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The sides were expected to sign the deal Tuesday but representatives of renegade General Laurent Nkunda objected to several proposed amendments. The specifics of the amendments are not clear.

On Monday, the government, Nkunda's group, and a local Mai Mai militia said they had agreed in principle to the peace deal after two weeks of talks in Goma, the capital of Congo's eastern North Kivu province.

The deal calls for an immediate cease-fire, a phased withdrawal of armed forces in North Kivu, and a creation of buffer zones monitored by U.N. peacekeeping troops.

The U.N. refugee agency says fighting in North Kivu has displaced about 400,000 people during the last year.

The heaviest fighting has involved the government and Nkunda's force. Nkunda says he is fighting to protect Tutsi civilians from Rwandan Hutu rebels camped out in the area.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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