Continued from page 1

Mr. Monti announced Saturday he is resigning because Silvio Berlusconi’s party, Parliament’s largest, yanked its support for his economic policies. The same day, Mr. Berlusconi said he was running to get the premiership back, despite his party’s lagging in the opinion polls.

Italian markets slumped Monday as investors feared a new era of political instability.

Some worry that a return to party politics under an elected government could threaten the reforms that Mr. Monti has been pushing through to restore confidence in the country’s financial future.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Rebels dodge meeting as peace talks falter

KAMPALA, Uganda — Representatives of rebels attending peace talks with the Congolese government dodged a crucial meeting Monday at which the government delegation was to respond to earlier criticism, a development that could jeopardize negotiations to end the crisis in eastern Congo.

The talks, which are being held in the Ugandan capital Kampala, got off to a tense start Sunday, when Francois Rucogoza, leader of the M23 delegation, accused the Congolese government of lacking “visionary leadership” and of corruption and incompetence.

The Congolese government delegation on Monday refused to give its rebuttal as earlier planned, saying they can do so only if the M23 delegation is present to hear their side.

If the rebels dig in and refuse to listen to the rebuttal by the Congolese government, it could end the talks before they even start.

Congolese Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda told Ugandan mediators and reporters that peace talks would not proceed if there is “bad faith” on the part of the rebels.

IRAQ

Kurdish leader visits disputed areas

BAGHDAD — The president of Iraq’s self-ruled Kurdish region visited Kurdish troops Monday in ethnically disputed areas near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a move likely to worsen already poor relations with the country’s central government.

The visit by Massoud Barzani to Kirkuk province was his first since June, according to officials in the city.

Tension between the Kurds and Baghdad flared up over the past two months following a decision by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a new military command to oversee security forces bordering the Kurdish region. The move has angered the Kurds.

Story Continues →