Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda has reiterated a threat to overthrow the Democratic Republic of Congo government unless it hold talks.
The renegade general also told the BBC that his forces were still observing a ceasefire and had only retaliated when attacked last week.
Forces loyal to Gen Nkunda have been battling the army and pro-government militia in eastern DR Congo.
At least 250,000 people have fled their homes because of the fighting.
President Joseph Kabila has so far ruled out talks with Gen Nkunda, saying it would be unconstitutional.
But Gen Nkunda said the way to resolve the current crisis was through negotiation.
"If he refuses to talk now he will not be able to rule Congo and to lead it," he said, referring to President Kabila.
"We have to liberate Congo. Congo has to be free and to develop."
BBC World Affairs Correspondent Mark Doyle says the threat may just be aimed at strengthening Gen Nkunda's political position.
But he says it raises the stakes at an extremely tense time, when other African countries are also threatening to intervene on the side of the elected Congolese government.
Gen Nkunda says he is fighting to protect his Tutsi community from attacks by Rwandan Hutu rebels, who fled to DR Congo after the 1994 genocide.
In the most recent clashes, his forces have taken a series of towns and villages near Goma, the capital of DR Congo's North Kivu province.