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Somalia cease-fire deal reached

Islamic militia agrees to recognize transitional government

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(CNN) -- Somalia's transitional government and the Islamic militia that seized control of the war-torn capital Mogadishu have signed a cease-fire in which the two factions agreed to work together, a government representative said Thursday.

The Islamic Courts Union agreed to recognize the transitional government as part of the deal, said Dahil Murray, an aide to transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

"They have to agreed to work together to work for the good of Somalia," Murray said.

Meeting in Sudanese capital Khartoum under the auspices of the Arab League, the two sides agreed to meet there again July 15.

The ICU, which wrested control of Mogadishu from a U.S.-backed coalition of secular warlords earlier this month, has called for the establishment of Islamic law in Somalia.

Somalia's last functioning government collapsed in 1991. The United Nations-backed transitional government, based in the inland city of Baidoa, wields little power.

Francois Lonseny Fall, the U.N. special representative for Somalia, warned this week that without international efforts to broker a settlement the rise of the ICU could trigger a regional war in the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopian troops have moved closer to its border with Somalia since the ICU captured Mogadishu and could intervene if the militia moves toward Baidoa, Fall said.

U.N. officials are concerned the increased fighting could create a new humanitarian crisis.

The United States fears the country could become a haven for the al Qaeda terrorist network.

U.S. officials have said some elements of the ICU have harbored al Qaeda operatives.

The ICU denies protecting terrorists and said it was willing to hold talks with the transitional government.

But it said it would not accept the government's call for a new international peacekeeping mission in the country.

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