Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

City's Gaza twin bid is rejected

Worcester and Gaza City
The city's twinning association said the move did not meet its criteria

Worcester's bid to twin itself with Gaza City as a "humanitarian gesture" has been turned down.

The city council had backed the plan by councillor Alan Amos, who said it aimed to link to the "people of Gaza" and not to support the Hamas leadership.

But Worcester Twinning Association said the proposal did not meet its criteria.

Twinning with the Middle Eastern city was not "the most appropriate or practical means" of meeting the people's humanitarian needs, it said.

Israel attacked the Gaza Strip in December in retaliation for rocket attacks. Aid groups have said this led to a humanitarian crisis in the region.

'Complex arrangements'

Neville Swanson, chairman of Worcester's Twinning Association, said it appreciated the council's desire to "express sympathy with the sufferings of the people".

But he added the voluntary association did not have the "resources or competences" to embark on complex arrangements "to set up a meaningful relationship with Gaza City" even if it was found that people in Gaza wished it.

Mr Swanson added the decision did not prevent the council from funding a formal link with Gaza City itself.

The twinning proposal had been criticised by Worcester MP Mike Foster who said the debate had been a waste of the council's time.

Mr Amos had rejected claims the move would support the Gaza Strip's Hamas leadership, which is regarded as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

Worcester, which has a population of about 90,000, is already linked with Kleve, in Germany, Le Vesinet, in France, and Worcester, in the United States.

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SEE ALSO
City MP criticises Gaza twin bid
27 Feb 09 |  Hereford/Worcs
Worcester backs Gaza twinning bid
26 Feb 09 |  Hereford/Worcs

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