"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty." -John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
The Centre for Peace in the Balkans
TORONTO, September 01, 2002 - The Centre for Peace in the Balkans responded to recent media information suggesting that a sister-city relationship may be considered between New York City and Srebrenica.
9-11: If only we could turn back the clock
"There were 9,000 soldiers killed in Srebrenica in the eyes of the U.N. soldiers, who were supposed to protect them. But they didn't do shit. It's like watching those airplanes bang into the World Trade Center and not trying to save those people." - Danis Tanovic, Academy Award winner, Directors World, March 25, 2002 .
Very influential circles in Bosnia and Herzegovina have recently initiated a plan to make Srebrenica the sister town of New York City in order to establish a symbolic link based on their perception of tragedy in face of terror. However, their suggested similarities are unfounded. Their plans are opportunistic attempts to propagate false information. Consider the following:
* Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) was connected to the TWRA, a phony relief agency. Alija Izetbegovic, the President of Bosnia, provided a guarantee for Elfatih Hassanein (head of the TWRA and a personal friend of Izetbegovic) to open an account for the TWRA in Die Erste Österreich Bank in Vienna, Austria in 1993.
* Mohammed Haydar Zammar, the man who recruited key 9-11 hijacker, Mohammad Atta, to the Al-Qaeda network, based his terrorist activities in Bosnia . Zammar also brought two of Atta's lieutenants into the Al-Qaeda network, namely Ramzi Binalshibh and Said Bahaji.
* Osama Bin Laden was given a Bosnian passport at the Bosnian Embassy in Vienna, Austria . Many other terrorists connected to the Al-Qaeda network also received blank Bosnian passports that enabled them to further propagate their illicit activities.
* Abu el Maali (Abdelkader Mokhtari), a senior representative of Al-Qaida, was based in Bosnia until recently. Just a few years ago, a US official called him a junior Osama Bin Laden.
* Bensayah Belkacem was arrested in October 2001 in Bosnia . Numbers stored in his mobile phone link him to at least one of Bin Laden's top lieutenants.
The involvement of Al-Quaeda in radical Islamic activities and events in Bosnia is however, frequently mentioned in the media and US government reports. Unfortunately, it is also frequently overlooked.
New Yorkers and other victims of Osama Bin Laden's terrorist attack were civilians and were not connected to a terrorist network in any way.
Proclaiming New York City and Srebrenica sister towns misrepresents the basis for forging such an important and symbolic relationship. Implying that the terror suffered by 9-11 victims in New York is similar to civil war suffering in Srebrenica is factually wrong. As such, a sister-city relationship between New York City and Srebrenica should not be established since it would be an insult to the memory of 9-11 victims.
For more information or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, please contact the Centre for Peace in the Balkans at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.balkanpeace.org.
 Al-Qaida On the Run , Voice of America News Report, June 22 02:
 A Bosnian Village's Terrorist Ties; Links to U.S. Bomb Plot Arouse Concern About Enclave of Islamic Guerrillas, The Washington Post March 11, 2000:
 A U.S. Prisoner From Bosnia Is Labeled a Top Qaeda Aide The New York Times, January 23, 2002:
 Yossef Bodansky, Director, U.S. Congress' Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare
 US Senate Document
 Balkan Wars and terrorist ties
 LA Times:Los Angeles Times, October 07, 2001 Terrorists Use Bosnia as Base and Sanctuary