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Warring Sides in Somalia Sign Pact

September 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Somalia's weak government and an Islamic militia that controls much of the south signed an agreement late Monday to eventually form a unified national army, officials said.

The accord, which came after two days of peace talks in Sudan, did not specify when the deal would take effect. Talks were to resume in October in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

Both sides also agreed to form a peace committee to determine how to implement the plan.

"We are pleased we came to this agreement within two days," said Ibrahim Hassan Adow, who signed the pact on behalf of the Islamic militia.

Abdullahi Sheik Ismail, a deputy prime minister in the transitional government, said, "The Islamic courts have met the expectations of our people."

The militia, which has set up a network of Islamic courts, agreed not to seize any more territory and to instead wait for the Oct. 30 talks.

Both sides also agreed to stop the use of propaganda against each other.

Somalia's parliament has endorsed a security plan drawn up by President Abdullahi Yusuf's government that includes a role for a regional peacekeeping mission.

Islamic militants had demanded that the administration reverse its call for international peacekeepers.

A coalition of East African and Horn of Africa nations is to discuss sending peacekeepers to Somalia today at a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

Adow, the Islamic group's foreign affairs chief, said over the weekend that foreign interference would be "a recipe for the renewal of civil war," alluding to reports that Ethiopian troops had taken position in three Somalian towns to protect the government.

Somalia in effect has been without a central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on one another, sparking anarchy.

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