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RABAT, October 3 (Itar-Tass) - The authorities of the south Russian city of Volgograd call for promoting the international movement of twin cities through official recognition at the United Nations, Volgograd deputy mayor Irina Kareva told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
She is taking part in the fourth World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in Morocco’s capital of Rabat organized by the United Cities and Local Governments, an umbrella organization for cities, local governments and municipal associations throughout the world.
“For many years cities around the globe have been linked by friendly and partnership relations. They have been implementing multiple projects to promote mutual understanding among its residents,” Kareva said. “Today international cooperation of municipalities is a part of the large-scale activity within the framework of the international movement of twin cities that originated from relations between Britain’s Coventry and the Soviet Union’s Stalingrad later renamed into Volgograd. The first contacts between the two cities were established in autumn of 1941. In the hard times of World War II they had been exchanging letters of support.”
In autumn 2012 Volgograd and Coventry “decided to appeal to the United Nations requesting the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution announcing 2014 as the year of the international movement of twin cities,” she said.
“If the initiative on recognition of the movement at the United Nations becomes a reality, this will create new prospects for cooperation and mutual understanding between nations,” Kareva said. “Adoption of a resolution declaring 2014 as the year of the international movement of twin cities will become a decisive step towards creating international legal existence of twin cities, laying the groundwork for establishing their official legal status that has not been formed in international legal practice for decades of the movement’s operation.”
“The international movement of twin cities should be officially recognized to become known to the world. Out task is not to forget twin-city relations, fill them with modern content and reinforce with cooperation in different spheres,” she said.
Sharing her impressions of the Rabat summit Kareva noted that “enhancement of public diplomacy through local self-government bodies is the theme that pervades the forum.” “Participants reiterate the need to give more independence and opportunities to municipalities, as all this is very important for residents of cities.”