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Congo's government won't negotiate unless rebels leave Goma

The Congolese President met with the Rwandan-backed M23 rebels for the first time since they seized the city of Goma, about a week ago. The rebels have shown no sign of leaving the city, and plan to march on others.

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"Why put conditions on talks? You pose conditions when you are in a position of strength. Is the government really in such a position?" Kabasha told Reuters in Goma, which sits on the north shore of Lake Kivu at Congo's eastern border with Rwanda.

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Vianney Kazarama, the rebels' military spokesman, said government forces that had been reinforcing along the shores of the lake were now deploying in hills around the rebel held town of Sake and government-held Minova, both Goma's west.

A U.N. source in Minova said government soldiers had gone on a looting spree for a second straight night there. The town was calm on Sunday but gunshots rang out overnight, the source said.

"What is real is that the morale of the troops is very low. They've lost hope in the commanders," the U.N. source said.

The Congolese army has vowed to launch counter-offensives and win back lost territory. The rebels have warned the government against embarking on a "new military adventure".

So far, the unruly and poorly-led army has been little match for the rebels, despite assistance from a U.N. peacekeeping mission that deployed attack helicopters to support the government before Goma fell.

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