Somalia's interim government on Tuesday agreed to new talks with the Islamic courts, which control most of southern Somalia, reviving hopes for a negotiated settlement in the Horn of African nation.
An official of the United Nations-backed government said they would hold talks early August in Khartoum without preconditions after President Abdullahi Yusuf met top United Nations envoy for Somalia, Francois Fall, who is visiting the lawless nation.
Talks to try and avert conflict between the two sides broke down last week after the largely powerless transitional government accused the Islamic courts of violating a cease-fire agreement.
"We will go to Khartoum without preconditions," Abdirizak Adam, chief of staff of President Yusuf, reportedly said.
Adam was speaking after the UN special envoy met Somali President Yusuf in his base in the provincial town of Baidoa and asked the government to attend talks in the Sudanese capital on August 1 and 2.
Fall, the special representative to Somalia of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, is in Somalia to try to reach an agreement on negotiations between Somalia's Islamic courts and President Yusuf's government.
It was not immediately known if the Islamic courts would also agree to attend.
In recent weeks, the Islamic courts have wrested control of much of southern Somalia from many of the warlords who divided up the country into rival fiefdoms following the overthrow of former Somali leader Siad Barre in 1991.