Madrid rejects ETA offer of talks without peace

17th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 June 2005, MADRID — Spain's Socialist government declined to respond to a communique from the Basque terrorist group ETA calling for "dialogue", saying they will only start talks if Basque separatists lay down their arms.

17 June 2005

MADRID — Spain's Socialist government declined to respond to a communique from the Basque terrorist group ETA calling for "dialogue", saying they will only start talks if Basque separatists lay down their arms.

Deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said: "The only communique the government wants to comment on is the one in which ETA announces that it is definitively abandoning violence, the one announcing that it will stop killing and extorting, that it will disappear."

The Basque newspaper Gara, which often serves as a medium for messages from ETA, published a statement on Friday in which the group expressed its "complete willingness" to enter into dialogue with the Socialist government of prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

But the statement failed to mention ETA would stop its 37-year-old violent campaign for an independent Basque nation comprising parts of northern Spain and southern France.

"There will be absolutely nothing (in the way of talks) as long as ETA does not definitively abandon violence," said Fernandez de la Vega.

ETA's communique comes two months after Spain's parliament authorized the government to open dialogue with the group if it declares an end to violence.

ETA, an acronym for the Basque words Homeland and Freedom, has killed some 830 people, often employing terrorist tactics such as car bombs, since taking up arms in 1968.

It figures on both the EU and US. list of terrorist organisations.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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