The M23 rebel group in Congo said today that it is pulling back from the provincial capital Goma to give talks a chance.
Rebel spokesman Colonel Vianney Kazarama said he had ordered his fighters to retreat to Kibumba, around 18 miles north of the city, after having come within two miles of Goma on Sunday.
Demands set out by the group call for the immediate demilitarisation of the city and the airport in Goma and for the opening of the frontier at Bunagana in the next 48 hours.
The rebels also want the government based in the capital Kinshasa to make a declaration on TV and radio announcing the start of negotiations in the next 24 hours.
The sequence of events mirrors what happened in 2008, when the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) advanced to the gates of Goma.
The CNDP, which was backed by Rwanda, stopped just short of taking the city and the rapid military advance forced the government to enter into negotiations.
The peace deal brokered a year later called for CNDP fighters to be integrated into the national army, even though many of them were believed to be Rwandan nationals.
Congo even integrated rebel leader General Bosco Ntaganda, who had been the target of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant.
However, in April, hundreds of men led by Gen Ntaganda defected from the army, creating M23.
Reports by Human Rights Watch and the UN indicate that M23 is being actively supported by Rwanda, which is providing arms, logistical help and even soldiers.
United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki Moon asked Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the weekend to intervene and stop the offensive.
Mr Ban vowed on Sunday that UN peacekeepers "will remain present in Goma and will continue all efforts to robustly implement its mandate to the fullest of its capabilities."
The UN has about 6,700 troops in Nord Kivu province, backing government forces against the rebels.
About 1,500 are deployed in Goma as "quick reaction units."
UN attack helicopters have staged cannon and rocket strikes against the rebels but have not been able to stop their steady advance.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Official inflation figures understate the real extent of rising costs, but even the government's own CPI scheme lays bare the ongoing misery for working people and those dependent on benefits.
The Con-Dems have had it their way too long. We have to turn this country around
How high-quality primary schooling could help solve global poverty