Warring Somali Faction Leaders Agree to Establish Interim Government

From Times Wire Services

Somali leaders, vowing to trade "the logic of force for the ethic of dialogue," agreed Saturday to establish an interim government to end the anarchy that has locked their country in a deadly cycle of famine and violence.

After 13 days of bargaining at a U.N.-sponsored peace conference here, 15 chiefs of Somalia's warring factions reached a compromise accord to set up a three-tiered, federal-style administration to guide their country during a two-year period leading to elections.

Somalia has been without a government since Mohamed Siad Barre, the country's longtime autocratic ruler, fled in January, 1991, amid an escalating civil war and widespread famine that led former President George Bush to send troops last December.

The pact also commits Somali factions to "complete a simultaneous disarmament throughout the country" within 90 days, and it calls for multinational forces to buttress an existing cease-fire.

The signing followed approval of a Security Council resolution Friday establishing a multinational U.N. force of at least 28,000 peacekeeping troops to take over from U.S.-led forces in Somalia.

Also Saturday, a convoy of U.S. Marines and Belgian soldiers moved out of Kismayu in a show of force designed to keep rival factions from the southern port.

The Western forces seek to keep warlords Mohamed Siad Hirsi, known as Gen. Morgan, and Omar Jess out of the area.

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