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Aldermen may give Chicago-Moscow 'Sister' act the hook

You’re NOT my sister anymore!

Ald. Ariel E. Reboyras (30th) chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Human Relations, says the City Council will hold a hearing Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. to decide whether to withdraw from the Sister Cities program with Moscow in protest of Vladimir Putin’s seizing of Crimea from Ukraine.

“We’re going to hear two resolutions,” he said. “to suspend the City of Chicago Sister City, and to add a second, related, resolution to call on the U.S. government to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”

Chicago has 28 sister cities across the world.

The Washington-based Sister Cities International noted that there are 76 American cities paired with Russian cities, and 23 with Ukrainian cities, with some of the partnerships being more than 25 years old. They urged that cities such as Chicago not abandon their sister city relationships with Russian cities.

“We hope that all sister city members, municipal officials, and individual citizens maintain the perspective that it is better to support community ties such as sister cities as a way to constructively communicate with one another, and continue to search for a peaceful resolution to tensions through civic engagement,” they said in a statement.

“It’s only a symbolic act,” said Ald. Ed Burke, adding that it was necessary because the city should do “what little we can do to put ourselves on record” as being against Russian aggression.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is honorary chairman of the Sister Cities program here. His office declined a chance to comment on the matter.