Parties unite against ETA violence

3rd December 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 December 2007, MADRID - The ETA attack on French soil last Saturday managed to bring together all political forces in a special congressional session to condemn the Basque terrorist group - something which had not happened in the nearly four years since the Socialist Party came to power.

3 December 2007

MADRID - The ETA attack on French soil last Saturday managed to bring together all political forces in a special congressional session to condemn the Basque terrorist group - something which had not happened in the nearly four years since the Socialist Party came to power.

All major unions and business associations were also represented at a meeting where a joint statement was read condemning the shooting of two Spanish Civil Guard agents in southern France. A street demonstration was also announced for tomorrow in Madrid.

The show of unity came after the Socialists and the opposition Popular Party (PP) exchanged a series of telephone calls to pave the way for the session, including a conversation between Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and PP leader Mariano Rajoy.

However, getting everyone together was not easy. The Socialists' congressional spokesman, Diego López Garrido, had his work cut out for him getting the Catalan republican leftists of ERC to send a representative to Congress. Meanwhile, getting the PP to accept the text of the statement required writing several drafts. An initial sentence that read: "ETA never managed and never will manage to bring democracy to its knees" was eliminated because the PP's line has always been that the present government yielded to the terrorists through its failed peace process. Another key phrase, "We support and will continue to support the government in order to put an end to terrorism" had to be changed to "We support and will continue to support the government in order to defeat ETA."

In Congress, the PP also made it clear that it continues to demand the banning of ANV, a Basque political party with ties to ETA, and the repeal of a motion authorising the government to enter into talks with the terrorist group.

The government, however, sought to minimise these discrepancies. "All the political forces made a show of unity, and that will eliminate any type of cracks that exist now," said López Garrido. "The fight against terrorism requires this kind of unity."

PP secretary general Ángel Acebes said that despite their differences with the Socialists, "on a tragic day such as this one we support the government in any initiative seeking the defeat of ETA. When the moment of truth arrives, we are there."

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL. 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

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