Ethiopian, Somali institutes sign agreement

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Addis Ababa, 6 March 2014 (WIC) - The Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development (EIIPD) has established a working relationship with the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies. Both sides agreed to work on changing opinions in Somalia that are hostage to the negative memories of past history.
According to EIIPD press release The Ethiopian Herald received yesterday, the director of the Somali think tank Abdi Aynte visiting EIIPD to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) discussed with Institute staff the identification of projects the two sides would jointly engage in.
Despite the progress underway with respect to the positive relations between the two countries, Aynte said that there are elements that hold the view in Somalia.
Policy informing think-tanks should organize public policy discussion forums to popularize the positive developments in relations between the two neighborly countries with emphasis on changes that have made all the negative attributes irrelevant due to the policies by the incumbent Ethiopian government, he said.
Aynte also expressed his strong view about the value of the present constructive relationships between the two countries and proposed that the EIIPD and the Heritage Institute should jointly work to renew people discourses among the peoples on both sides that had not had the chance to publicly express their views.
“We the policy research institutes should facilitate and create an opportunity for them by organizing forums”, he added.
Speaking about the situation regarding the Al-Shabaab group, he stressed that it was alien to the Somali peoples' interest and was engaged with international Jihadist project. Due to this reason, it has no support from the people of Somalia.
Al-shabaab lost support after moderate groups left the group. The weak group may be moving nearer to Yemen for lack of support in Somalia coupled with the pressure from the African Union force, AMISOM, he said.
EIIPD Deputy Director on his part said that Ethiopia strives to see peaceful and stable Somalia and the government has been exerting its maximum effort to make Somalia peaceful.
Ethiopia is at the forefront of countries in mobilizing regional and international actors to engage in bringing peace and stability in Somalia since 1992, he added.(EH)