Madrid looks to US to help find peace with ETA

11th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 July 2006, NEW YORK — Madrid called on the Bush administration on Tuesday to support the peace process in the Basque Country just as Washington did in Northern Ireland.

11 July 2006

NEW YORK — Madrid called on the Bush administration on Tuesday to support the peace process in the Basque Country just as Washington did in Northern Ireland.

Jose Blanco, secretary of the ruling socialist party, explained the party's position on a visit to New York and Washington.

Meeting with Spanish journalists, Blanco called the peace process an "historic moment ... (because) freedom is on the verge of defeating the injustice of weapons".

"For this historic moment, we want from the United States the same understanding and support that ... the Northern Ireland peace process had," he said.

During the course of its visit to the US, the socialist delegation is scheduled to meet with top United Nations officials, the leadership of the opposition Democratic Party and US State Department officials and representatives of the economic and business world.

Blanco said: "We will take advantage of the trip to explain to all parties our (effort) to secure definitive peace in Spain and that we are at the point of achieving the triumph of democracy in the face of ETA terrorism after 40 years of violence and almost 1,000 dead," he said.

On Tuesday, members of the Spanish delegation will meet  former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Democratic congressman Xavier Becerra and with Republican senator Mel Martinez, who is Cuban-American.

The following day, the group is scheduled to meet with Democratic National committee chairman Howard Dean.

The socialist delegation has also requested an as-yet-unconfirmed meeting with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

In 1995, Bill Clinton, then president of the United States, visited Northern Ireland and spoke in favour of the peace process underway among the British government, the Irish Republican Army and the region's Catholics and Protestants to a huge rally at Belfast's City Hall. He called terrorists "yesterday's men".

Clinton also made a number of telephone calls in 1998 to Northern Ireland's political party leaders to encourage them to reach an equitable peace agreement, which finally took shape in The Good Friday Accords.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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