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Sunday, 27 October, 2002, 13:54 GMT
Somali factions sign truce deal
Somali gunmen
Somalia has been plagued by anarchy and fighting
Warring factions and the transitional government (TNG) in Somalia have signed a ceasefire deal aimed at bringing more than a decade of fighting and anarchy to an end, foreign mediators have said.

Twenty-one rival groups and the TNG agreed to end hostilities for the duration of current peace talks and to pave the way for a new federal system of government.


Rays of hope on the prospects of peace in Somalia are now more evident than ever before

Elijah Mwangale
Kenyan mediator
But correspondents say the agreement is unlikely to win support from the breakaway northern region of Somaliland, and neither has it been signed by the faction which controls regions in central Somalia.

The peace talks have the backing of the international community, which has threatened to impose sanctions on groups opposing an agreement.

The talks, in the north-western Kenyan town of Eldoret, are the latest in more than a dozen failed attempts to restore peace to Somalia since the overthrow of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in January, 1991.

Hopes for peace

Chief Kenyan mediator Elijah Mwangale said the agreement was a landmark achievement.

Mogadishu
The transitional government has little control outside Mogadishu

"Rays of hope on the prospects of peace in Somalia are now more evident than ever before," he said.

Under the deal, the signatories reportedly agreed to observe a truce; pave the way for a national federal government; fight terrorism; improve the safety of foreign aid workers; and adhere to the outcome of the conference.

The groups are also said to have agreed to the setting up of a monitoring system to ensure the terms of the agreement are implemented.

Regional analysts said this could lead to international observers or peace keepers being deployed in the country.

Descent into chaos

Somalia has had no effective central government since President Mohamed Siad Barre was deposed in 1991.

The transitional government was established in August, 2000, but has little control outside the capital, Mogadishu.

Fighting between rival clans and warlords has plagued Somalia and all previous ceasefires have collapsed.

The latest agreement has the backing of Somalia's neighbours, the United States, the European Union and the Arab League.

Talks are planned to continue until the end of the year.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mohammed Adow on Focus on Africa
"This agreement includes all the warring factions in southern Somalia"

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24 Oct 02 | Africa
16 Oct 02 | Africa
24 Dec 01 | Africa
12 Mar 02 | Country profiles
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