Congo govt says no talks with M23 rebels before Goma pullout

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:20am EST

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov 25 (Reuters) - C ongo's government will not negotiate with M23 rebels in the east of the Central African country until the rebels pull out of the city of Goma, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

Lambert Mende said President Joseph Kabila had met M23 representatives in Uganda for the first time on Saturday and had reiterated his readiness to consider their demands.

"Negotiations will start after the (M23) withdrawal from Goma. Even if we want to negotiate, this can't be before 48 hours," Mende said, referring to a deadline given to the rebels on Saturday. Regional leaders on Saturday called on the rebels to pull out of Goma.