Rebels say they will leave Congo city of Goma, reversing earlier position

The Associated Press

GOMA, Congo - Congo's M23 rebels say they will withdraw from the strategic city of Goma if President Joseph Kabila's government meets their demands for wide-ranging national reforms and negotiations.

M23 vice-minister of interior Theophile Ruremesha said today that the rebels will pull out of the city in eastern Congo as long as the Kabila makes concessions.

The African Union demanded that the M23 leave Goma by Friday but Ruremesha suggested that the withdrawal could take longer.

M23's military chief, Col. Sultani Makenga, also said that the rebels intend to pull out of Goma. Makenga returned from talks in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

A pullout from Goma is a reversal from the statement by the M23's political chief Tuesday that the rebels would fight the government army to retain control of Goma.