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Mayor welcomes positive response to Bethlehem twinning request

24 April 2024

Bethlehem City Council has responded positively to a letter from Derry City and Strabane District Council requesting the two regions formalise a twinning agreement.

Bethlehem City Council has responded positively to a letter from Derry City and Strabane District Council requesting the two regions formalise a twinning agreement. 
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Patricia Logue welcoming the news said she was pleased and honoured to receive correspondence from Mayor of Bethlehem Adv. Anton Salman approving the request.
Mayor Logue said she was delighted that the request had been accepted and looked forward to Council working with the City of Bethlehem to look at ways to work together to share experiences and ideas that will benefit communities, residents and businesses. 
She said: “I am really pleased that the Mayor of Bethlehem is open to working with us here in Derry and Strabane to establish a formal twinning arrangement between the two regions. It’s a very difficult time for the people of Bethlehem however they have taken a very proactive approach to show support for Palestine, their Church leaders and officials at Bethlehem Council cancelled all festival and religious celebrations as a mark of solidarity with the people of Gaza. This was a huge decision and will have impacted every aspect of the religious practices, economy, livelihoods and tourism, but the Council knew it needed to happen and shown leadership and resilience and provide support to those in their communities and to do what they can to protect that are impacted by the war. I think its important that we here in Derry and Strabane build a strong relationship with them and do what we can to learn from one another. The people of Derry/Strabane and Bethlehem have a lot in common, both have shown great resilience and strength and I strongly believe that by twinning with each other we reap the benefits of a very positive and engaging relationship that will impact our communities and businesses.”
In January of this year, a notice of motion that was agreed at a meeting of Full Council which stated: “That this Council notes with grave concern the ongoing loss of life in the tragic war in Palestine. It notes that the ongoing genocide in Gaza is completely abhorrent and that the impact of the Israeli occupation is being felt right across the region, including in the West Bank. This Council commits to contacting the local authorities within Bethlehem and to start the process of twinning Derry and Strabane with Bethlehem city, to show our support to the people of the region and to develop our relationship with Bethlehem in order to develop links for education, culture and economy.”
In a letter responded to the request, the Mayor of Bethlehem said: “On behalf of Bethlehem city council and the citizens of the town of the Nativity, I thank you and the Irish people on your steadfast position and support to our Palestinian just cause. This decision reflects the historical unshakable reaction between the Palestinian and the Irish people, and our shared commitment to fostering mutual understanding as well as strengthening the bonds of cooperation and friendship between our two cities.”

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