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Peace talks between Congo and M23 rebels to begin in Uganda this week

A spokesman for the Ugandan government says peace talks between the Congolese government and M23 rebels will begin in the Ugandan capital Friday.

Fred Opolot said Thursday that delegations from the Congolese government and the rebels will hold preliminary meetings in Kampala to draft the "ground rules and working framework for subsequent meetings."

The delegations will also agree Friday on the composition of observers to the talks.

Although Ugandan military officials have been accused in a U.N. report of supporting M23, the East African country is mediating the talks between Congo and the rebels, who have withdrawn from the eastern provincial capital of Goma in keeping with the demands of regional leaders.

The rebels are widely believed to be backed by Rwanda, which denies the charge.