Political splits persist over how to confront ETA

11th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 January 2007, MADRID — Spain's conservative opposition and a terrorism victims' group are to boycott a demonstration against ETA, claiming it is 'party political'.

11 January 2007

MADRID  — Spain's conservative opposition and a terrorism victims' group are to boycott a demonstration against ETA, claiming it is 'party political'.

The Popular Party (PP) and the Association of the Victims of Terrorism (AVT), which are closely aligned, claimed the protest planned for Saturday in Madrid and Bilbao are linked to the socialists, it was reported on Thursday.

It is the first time they will have stayed away from such a demonstration.

The  PP says that in light of ETA's deadly car-bombing of Madrid's Barajas airport, the only legitimate objective regarding the separatist-terrorist organization is "to defeat it."

The demonstrations are organised by the UGT and CCOO labour unions under the slogan 'For Peace and against Terrorism' and the second organized by the Basque regional government under the banner 'For Peace and Dialogue'.

The PP said it will not attend the Bilbao rally because of the use of the term 'dialogue' and is still deciding whether to participate in the one in Madrid.

PP leader Mariano Rajoy said he will be in the Spanish capital provided that the demonstration is "in defence of freedom" and calls for no negotiations with ETA and the defeat of the radical Basque organization.

He stressed that it should be a demonstration in which "we all say that we are going in support of the defeat of ETA".

Meanwhile, deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said the socialist government did not let down its guard "for one moment" during the nine months that ETA had observed a cease-fire.

ETA, which has killed more than 830 people since taking up arms in 1968 to seek a Basque nation comprising parts of northern Spain and southern France, placed a van-bomb on 30 December at a parking garage of Madrid's Barajas airport that exploded and killed two Ecuadorians.

The radical group said that in spite of the lethal attack - the first since May 2003 - the cease-fire announced last March remains in effect.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's administration, meanwhile, is trying to re-establish an anti-terrorism consensus among Spain's political groupings, with Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba on Wednesday holding a round of talks with representatives of all the parties in Parliament.

The goal is to seek a consensus along the lines of the so-called Anti-Terrorist Pact - signed in 2000 by the now-governing Socialists and the then-ruling Popular Party - but extending it to include Basque nationalist groups, something that the PP opposes.

Spain's Basque region enjoys significant autonomy and is governed by a moderate nationalist party that, like the great majority of Basques, rejects ETA and terrorist violence.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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