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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 November 2006, 03:06 GMT
Somali Islamists 'in peace deal'
UIC chief Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys (left) and parliamentary speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan in Mogadishu
Mr Adan (right) does not have the authority of the government
Somalia's Islamist leaders say they have agreed a deal to avoid hostilities with the transitional government.

The deal was sealed by the Islamists and a parliamentary delegation led by Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan.

However, Mr Adan does not carry the authorisation of the transitional government, which has made no comment yet on the agreement.

The Islamists have taken control of most of southern Somalia since seizing the capital, Mogadishu, in June.

'Headed for peace'

The deal is an attempt to prevent war between militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts and the fragile transitional government, which is based in the town of Baidoa.

Map

The Islamist leaders and Mr Adan also pledged to continue Arab-league sponsored talks in Khartoum.

Among the key points of the deal are a request for foreign countries to stay out of Somali affairs, and for the United Nations to maintain an embargo on arms supplies to the country.

Ibrahim Hassan Adow, the Islamic Courts spokesman for foreign affairs, said: "This is a first step, and we are headed for peace."

The two parties called on the transitional government to back the deal, but some in the administration have previously accused Mr Adan of trying to undermine its authority.

Correspondents say Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf sees the speaker's move as ominous, amid concerns that it may lead to a power-sharing agreement that excludes the rest of the government.

Somalia has been in the grip of warlords and militias for years and has not had a functioning national government since 1991.


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