GOMA, Congo — The rebel general besieging this provincial capital said Thursday he wants direct talks with the Congo government about ending the fighting and his objections to a $9 billion deal that gives China access to vast mineral riches in exchange for a railway and highway.
Laurent Nkunda told The Associated Press in a telephone interview he also wants the urgent disarmament of a Rwandan Hutu militia that he accuses of preying on his minority Tutsi people.
Nkunda launched a low-level rebellion three years ago claiming Congo's transition to democracy had excluded the Tutsi, and despite agreeing in January to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, resumed fighting in August. He alleges the Congolese government has not protected the Tutsi from the Rwandan Hutu militia that escaped to Congo after helping slaughter half a million Rwandan Tutsis in 1994. Nkunda says government troops are collaborating with the Rwandan Hutus, a claim Congo denies.
"It's not acceptable for government soldiers to be fighting alongside genociders," Nkunda said. "We want peace for people in the region."
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