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Somali Factions Sign Agreement, Allowing Establishment of Interim Government

Somalia's faction leaders have adopted a charter for the country, paving the way for the selection of a new interim government.

The Kenyan mediator of the year-long Somali peace talks being held in Kenya, Bethuel Kiplagat, hails the development, praising the 23 warlords and their representatives for overcoming their differences and signing on to a document that spells out how the Horn of Africa country will be run.

Mr. Kiplagat said the next step will be the selection of a president and Members of Parliament. "From tomorrow, they go to their clans and discuss, deliberate, negotiate on how to distribute the quota they have been given of candidates for parliament among the sub-clans," he said.

The charter they agreed on details the structures of government and provisions for healthcare, education, the civil service, and the judiciary. The document was agreed on after several months of negotiation.

Mr. Kiplagat had earlier called for international peacekeepers to ensure the implementation of Somalia's new charter.

The country has been at war since 1991. The Somali peace talks, which began last year in Kenya, bring together representatives from several African countries and more than 20 warlords and members of civic groups.