Congo president vows national unity, says troops to resume offensive if talks with rebels fail

Congo's president says he will not allow the recent fighting with rebels to tear the vast Central African country apart.

President Joseph Kabila said in a speech Saturday that the Congolese army would defend the country from those trying to destabilize it.

Kabila's speech opened a conference in the capital that was aimed at national reconciliation. But it was boycotted by several opposition parties.

Negotiations between Congo's government and M23 rebels are to resume Monday following an upsurge in violence near the Congo-Rwanda border. While a tentative cease-fire has stemmed the fighting, Kabila said Congolese troops would resume their efforts if talks with the rebels fail.

The M23 fighters launched their rebellion last year, and briefly overtook the city of Goma.