Spain, France agree on special anti-ETA police force
Spain and France will set up a special police team dedicated exclusively to combating Basque terrorist group ETA.
10 December 2007
MADRID - Spain and France will set up a special police team dedicated exclusively to combating Basque terrorist group ETA, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced Sunday.
The move, agreed Saturday during a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the sidelines of the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, comes after ETA members killed two Spanish Civil Guard officers in France on 1 December.
Two suspects have so far been arrested for the shootings, while French and Spanish police continue to hunt for a third. Zapatero said finding the third suspect is an "absolute priority." However, he noted that Spanish-French police cooperation will not cease once they are in custody.
Whereas joint police teams were previously set up as needed and disbanded at the end of an investigation, the creation of a Spanish-French team dedicated to fighting ETA on a permanent basis will be a "qualitative leap" in counterterrorism cooperation, Zapatero said.
He did not explain how the joint unit would function or whether Spanish police would be permitted to carry arms in France. The unarmed pair of Civil Guard officers had been participating in an undercover investigation into ETA.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ A. EATWELL 2007]
Subject: Spanish news