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DRC Peace Talks Resume in Kenya

Rebels from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congolese government have resumed peace talks in Kenya after a one-week break.

A rebel delegate is quoted by the French news agency AFP as saying he is optimistic about the talks that started up again Thursday in Nairobi.

Betrand Bisimwa is quoted as saying rebels are aware that conditions for a lasting peace are needed as soon as possible for the welfare of Congolese.

U.N.-funded Radio Okapi said the two sides are on the verge of reaching a new cease-fire deal.
A quarter-million people have been displaced by the recent violence in eastern DRC.

On Wednesday, U.N. officials condemned rebels for detaining and harassing civilians and looting businesses in the Kiwanja area of North Kivu province.

The ethnic Tutsi rebels say they are fighting to defend Tutsi communities against attacks by soldiers, militias and Hutu fighters responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The rebels and the DRC government resumed fighting in late August, after the collapse of a January peace deal. The rebels started a new offensive in October, gaining territory north of the North Kivu capital, Goma.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.