KAMPALA - A delegation of rebels was in Kampala Saturday for talks with the Congolese government aimed at ending a crisis that has led to widespread rights abuses and displacement and sparked fears of an all-out regional conflict. “We are here and tomorrow (Sunday) we will meet with the delegation of the government of Congo,” said a spokesman for the M23 rebel group, Bertrand Bisimwa.

The talks are expected to open at 1200 GMT. Jean-Marie Runiga, the rebel movement’s political leader, was not part of the delegation. The M23, former rebels who were integrated into the Democratic Republic of Congo’s regular forces in 2009 and mutinied again this year, pulled out of the main eastern city of Goma last week when the government agreed to discuss some of their demands.

Meanwhile in Kinshasa, the four main opposition groups in the DR Congo’s national assembly said they had declined to join the talks because the government has refused to discuss any demands except those of the M23 rebels.

“Only a republican and inclusive dialogue between the majority in power, the opposition and the M23 along with civil society will enable finding a comprehensive and lasting solution to the crisis,” a representative of the opposition told journalists in the Congolese capital. The opposition also objected to only being given observer status at the negotiations.