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Somali Leaders Sign Peace Pact to End Their Rifts
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Somalia's interim President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Adan signed a pact in Yemen on Thursday to end their rifts and unify the country's fractured transitional government, according to press reports in Yemen.

A declaration, signed in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden after talks brokered by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, said the two leaders, who belong to two rival factions, had agreed to "leave behind all the past differences that hampered the function of interim institutions."

The two leaders "have reached an agreement to start a new page and end their differences which have brought serious damage to the... duties of the institutions and the spirit of the Somali people," said the declaration.

The declaration said the two leaders had agreed to "coordination between state organizations that was based on total respect for the national charter."

According to the document, the interim parliament should convene within 30 days as of the issue of the declaration on Somali soil.

The two leaders also called on parliament members to avoid disputes with the government, give the highest priority to the interests of the state and reach consensus.

The declaration urged the international community to provide assistance to the country so that its parliament can convene inside the country.

The two leaders also called on all Somali factions to put down arms and resume dialogue.

But the declaration did not mention a seat for the government. Ahmed had insisted that the government, set up in Kenya in late 2004, remain in the northern city of Jowhar, while Adan wanted it to be moved to Mogadishu, the country's capital.

Ahmed, for security concerns, refuses to relocate to Mogadishu, the epicenter of violence among rival factions for the past 15 years, which has left thousands of people dead and rendered even more people homeless.

(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2006)

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