Spain ready to fight Basque separatists: PM

10th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2007, MADRID - (AFP) - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stressed Wednesday the country was well-prepared for a "battle" against ETA following a bombing blamed on the armed Basque separatist group.

10 October 2007

MADRID - (AFP) - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stressed Wednesday the country was well-prepared for a "battle" against ETA following a bombing blamed on the armed Basque separatist group.

Zapatero, speaking to the Senate, condemned Tuesday's car bomb that seriously wounded the bodyguard of a local politician in the city of Bilbao in Spain's northern Basque Country.

He appealed for unity among the political parties to reach "the common objective of all democracies: to see violence disappear, overcome terror, threats and force."

The country is "very strong and very well-prepared for this battle," he said, referring to ETA.

The government blamed ETA for the Bilbao attack, which came just five days after police arrested most of the top members of Batasuna, the group's banned political wing.

The most senior Batasuna official still at liberty, Pernando Barrena, had termed Thursday's arrests a "declaration of war" and warned of a "new cycle of violence" in Spain.

ETA -- listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States -- is blamed for the deaths of 819 people during almost four decades of its independence drive for the Basque region which they say includes parts of northern Spain and southwest France.

ETA ended a 15-month-old ceasefire in June, after which the Socialist government -- facing a general election in six months -- adopted a harder line against it.

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Subject: Spanish news

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