Congo government, M23 rebels sign preliminary agreement at peace talks in Uganda

Representatives of the Congolese government and the M23 rebels have signed a preliminary agreement in which both parties accept responsibility for the failure of an earlier peace deal.

Crispus Kiyonga, the Ugandan minister mediating the talks in Kampala, told reporters that the agreement Wednesday was a breakthrough.

Kiyonga said the agreement was signed "in the spirit of reconciliation" and that each camp was aware of its contribution to the failure of the March 23, 2009 agreement between the Congolese government and CNDP, a precursor to M23. M23, which is believed to be backed by Rwanda, accuses the Congolese government of violating the agreement.

Kiyonga said the rebels themselves had violated a provision of that agreement which stated that any disputes were to be resolved through "political means" not militarily.