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In brief: Congo peace deal postponed

TUESDAY, NOV. 12, 2013

ENTEBBE, Uganda – An expected peace deal between Congo’s government and M23 rebels was postponed after Congolese officials asked for more time to study the document, a Ugandan government spokesman said Monday, the day Western diplomats and Ugandan officials believed a final accord would be signed after nearly a year of negotiations.

The Congolese government delegation was not ready to agree to the document, according to Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo, who said the accord would have to wait until Congo’s government “makes up its mind.” Opondo said the Congolese government had asked for more time to review the document despite having a copy for at least three days. Congolese officials did not issue a comment about the situation.

Okello Oryem, Uganda’s deputy foreign minister, told the Associated Press the deal had not been signed after Congo’s government insisted on saying it would sign a “declaration” that the rebellion was over, but not “an agreement” with the M23 rebels, an issue that he said reflected the difficulty of mediating peace between the two sides. Peace talks between M23 and Congo’s government have repeatedly stalled since they started in December, sometimes over minor details, according to Ugandan officials.

It remained unclear when the two parties would meet again.

Mexico says American led kidnapping ring

MONTERREY, Mexico – Mexican authorities say a U.S. citizen who once served in the U.S. Navy and was a police officer in Texas has been detained in northern Mexico for allegedly heading a group of kidnappers.

Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said Monday that the man and 15 of his alleged accomplices were detained in the last week.

The U.S. Embassy didn’t immediately respond to a request for information.

Domene said investigators have two names for the man and haven’t fully identified him. But the spokesman said the suspect served in the Navy and was a police officer in Texas between 1998 and 2009.

Domene said the gang staged the September kidnapping and killing of the father of the mayor of General Zuazua, a town near the industrial city of Monterrey.

MERS virus found in camel

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The Saudi Health Ministry said it has discovered a deadly virus in a camel in the eastern Saudi province of Jiddah.

The ministry’s statement released Monday is considered an important development in the search for the origin of the deadly illness. There have been more than 60 deaths from the virus known as Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, with all but a handful of the fatalities in Saudi Arabia.

The ministry said a sample from the camel was tested near the home of a patient infected with the virus.

An international research team in August found the mysterious virus that is related to SARS in a bat in Saudi Arabia. They suspected it was perhaps another animal that was spreading the virus directly to humans.


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