According to Mr. Muradov, agreement signing is slated for the Crimea in International Setting annual conference to be held in early November at the Livadia Palace in Yalta.
“We are interested in foreign cities’ experience in solving problems related to housing and utilities, power grid, and road network development. We are interested in enhancing cultural and humanitarian ties. Moreover, such agreements attract investments from the business communities of foreign cities”, Georgy Muradov told the Izvestiia newspaper.
The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Crimea under the President of the Russian Federation said that heads of several foreign municipalities planned to attend the conference. He said that information on which cities in Austria and Bulgaria will become Yevpatoria and Feodosia sister cities will be disclosed later to avoid Kiev putting pressure on the municipal officials.
In turn, Sergey Aksyonov, head of the Republic of Crimea, noted that talks were slated for the Crimea in International Setting conference with members of Italian and French delegations on sister city relations between Crimean cities and municipalities in those countries.
“This is an important part of grassroots diplomacy and the more relations like this we have, the more opportunities the public in Europe will have to learn the truth about the situation in Crimea, to see with their own eyes that there is no ‘annexation’ or ‘occupation’ but a free choice made by free people”, Sergey Aksyonov said.
Recently, Crimean cities have concluded cooperation agreements with several EU cities. Simferopol, Crimea’s capital, signed two such agreements, with Alexandroupoli (Greece) in February 2016 and with Padua (Italy) in October 2016. In February 2015, Feodosia signed a cooperation agreement with Aspropyrgos (Greece). Kerch signed a sister city agreement with Reggio di Calabria (Italy) in November 2014. As of today, the latest agreement was the protocol on cooperation between Yalta and Rovigo (Italy) signed at the 3rd Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) in April 2017.
A constitutive meeting of the International Association of the Friends of Crimea will take place during the Crimea in International Setting conference. The decision to establish this organization was adopted at YIEF 2017. Approximately 50 foreign politicians are expected to join the Association.