Monday, May 19, 2003

SOMALIA: Puntland opponents sign peace deal
NAIROBI, 19 MAY 2003 (IRIN) - The administration in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland and opposition forces signed a peace deal on Saturday aimed at ending conflict in the region, a local journalist told IRIN on Monday.

The talks which have been under way in Bosaso, the commercial capital, since 10 May, between the Puntland administration of Col Abdullahi Yusuf and the opposition led by Gen Ade Muse Hirsi, "ended with the signing of a power-sharing agreement between the two sides", said Muhammad Sa'id Kashawiito, of the Bosaso-based Midnimo radio.

Under deal the opposition will have three ministers, two vice-ministers, two governors, two mayors and the commander of either the police force or the army, Kashawiito said. Furthermore, the opposition militia will be integrated into the Puntland security forces.

"As of Saturday the opposition ceased to exist," Puntland's acting information minister Abdishakuur Mire Aden told IRIN. "The agreement brings to a close a dark chapter in Puntland's history." MORE

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