Batasuna calls for peace and dialogue

14th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 November 2004, SAN SEBASTIAN - Batasuna, the banned political wing of armed Basque separatist group ETA, have appealed for peaceful political dialogue between all sides in the strife-torn northern Spanish region.

15 November 2004

SAN SEBASTIAN - Batasuna, the banned political wing of armed Basque separatist group ETA, have appealed for peaceful political dialogue between all sides in the strife-torn northern Spanish region.

But it did not launch a formal appeal to ETA to end its campaign of violence to achieve Basque independence, violence that has caused more than 800 deaths over four decades.

Such an appeal for an end to bombings and other violent acts in the Basque country is considered a non-negotiable precondition by most other Basque parties as well as Spain's political mainstream before Batasuna can hope to resume a democratic political role in Spain.

Despite its official ban, Batasuna called a mass rally in a stadium in this Basque city, presenting new proposals to resolve the conflict.

But the rally could land Batasuna in court for 'supporting terrorism' under Spanish law.

The prosecutor in San Sebastian, where the rally was held, is studying whether it  constituted supporting terrorism as Batasuna is a banned party.

Batasuna has called for a popular democratic referendum on any accord reached by the parties involved:

"All Basque citizens have the right to be consulted, therefore the present and future status of the Basque country must be submitted to a referendum," its statement of proposals said.

It said it was willing to undertake commitments with other parties in the region, because "settlement of the Basque conflict requires the implementation of a process of multilateral political dialogue."

One such commitment would be to overcome differences "peacefully and democratically" in settling the conflict.

The use of solely political and democratic methods would make it possible without restriction to implement all political proposals, Batasuna said.

The party pushed for a double agreement: one among the parties within the Basque country itself, and the other between ETA and the Spanish and French governments.

It proposed Spain and France opens talks with ETA on demilitarisation of the conflict and the fate of Basque prisoners.

There have been increasing signs that many Basques feel that ETA's violent campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and parts of southern France has run its course.

ETA has suffered setbacks in recent months after Spanish and French police intensified their cross-border cooperation, leading to more than 100 arrests this year.
  
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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