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DR Congo-Rwanda peace talks resume in Luanda

Rwanda President Paul Kagame (L), Angola President Joao Lourenco (C) and Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi (R) pose for a photograph in Luanda on July 6   -  
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JORGE NSIMBA/AFP or licensors

DRC-Rwanda tensions

Democratic Republic of Congo leader Felix Tshisekedi and Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta went into talks on Wednesday in Angola amid heightened tensions in eastern DRC.

Tshisekedi and Biruta were received at a hotel in the capital, Luanda, by Angolan President Joao Lourenco, who is acting as a mediator between the two neighbours, according to an AFP correspondent.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame was not in attendance and the reason for his absence was not immediately clear.

The volatile eastern DRC has witnessed fierce fighting in recent months between Congolese troops and the M23 rebel group, prompting the East African Community (EAC) bloc to deploy a joint regional force to quell the violence.

Kenyan soldiers arrived in the country earlier in November and Uganda said it would deploy around 1,000 troops before the end of the month.

The EAC's chair, Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye, and former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, the EAC's "facilitator" in efforts to restore peace and security in the mineral-rich region, were also in Luanda.

The fighting has reignited regional tensions, with the DRC accusing its smaller neighbour Rwanda of backing the M23, something that UN experts and US officials have also said in recent months.

Kigali denies this and accuses Kinshasa of colluding with the FDLR -- a former Rwandan Hutu rebel group established in the DRC after the 1994 genocide of mainly Tutsis in Rwanda.

The M23, a largely Congolese Tutsi militia, has seized swathes of territory across North Kivu province, edging towards the region's main city of Goma.

DR Congo and Rwanda agreed to a de-escalation plan in July, but clashes resumed the very next day.

On Tuesday, Kinshasa said it would not sit down for talks with M23 rebels until the group withdrew from the areas it controlled.

The M23 first leaped to prominence 10 years ago when it captured Goma, before being driven out and going to ground.

It re-emerged late last year, claiming the DRC had failed to honour a pledge to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.