France and Spain pledge to defeat ETA

7th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

7 December 2004, ZARAGOZA -France voiced its "total determination" to cooperate with Spain in the fight against armed attacks by Basque separatists as an annual Franco-Spanish summit got under way.

7 December 2004

ZARAGOZA -France voiced its "total determination" to cooperate with Spain in the fight against armed attacks by Basque separatists as an annual Franco-Spanish summit got under way.

French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin, flanked by his Spanish counterpart Jose Antonio Alonso, addressed a press briefing in Spanish, describing the "total determination as much of France as of Spain" to coordinate efforts to fight the Basque separatist group ETA.

Alonso said the French pledge was "good news for Spain, which considers French collaboration as essential for bringing an end to ETA terrorism."

The Spanish minister pointed to recent key arrests in France, while Villepin said cooperation had become "even stronger" since the two countries set up joint investigative teams devoted to countering Basque terrorism.

More than 100 arrests have been made this year, including that of political
leader Mikel "Antza" Albizu Iriarte.

The ETA has been blamed for the deaths of more than 800 people in its more than three-decade campaign for an independent Basque homeland straddling the
Pyrenees between France and Spain.

On Monday, seven low-intensity bombs went off all over Spain, days after another series of bombs exploded in Madrid.

The group's last fatal attack was in May 2003 when two policemen were killed in the northern province of Navarra in a car bombing.

Meanwhile, the Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the French president Jacques Chirac were meeting for a one-day summit, with the EU budget and the proposed Euro Constitution expected to head the list of subjects on the agenda.

Chirac and the French prime minister Jean Pierre Raffarin met Zapatero and at least five members of his cabinet in this eastern Spanish city.

The pact between Spain, France and Morocco against Islamic terrorism was also expected to figure prominently among the subjects discussed.

Talks on the proposed high-speed train links between Figueras in Catalonia in north-east Spain and Perpignan in southern France and Vitoria in the Basque country and Dac in south-west France are likely to proceed with less ease, Spanish diplomatic sources said.

The same was expected to apply to proposed high-tension electricity lines between Spain and France.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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