Spanish and French PMs meet to discuss ETA and rail links

27th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

The prime ministers of France and Spain met on Friday for talks on cooperation.

27 July 2007

MADRID - The prime ministers of France and Spain were meeting on Friday for talks likely to focus on continued cooperation in combating the armed Basque group ETA and projects to boost rail and electricity links between the two countries.

The visit is the first by Francois Fillon since he was named France's prime minister in May following the election of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The two premiers also planned to discuss Sarkozy's proposal to create a new union of countries on both sides of the Mediterranean, as well as willingness by France and Spain to work on a simplified version of the EU constitution, the office of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said.

Shortly before the meeting, Zapatero thanked France for its collaboration in cracking down on ETA since the group ended a 15-month cease-fire June 5.

Since June 5, French police have arrested a total of 22 suspected ETA members.

"I want to congratulate the security forces, France, for their results in the anti-terrorist fight," Zapatero said in a news conference at the Moncloa Palace, his residency and office on the outskirts of Madrid.

"These are important operations against ETA," he said.

Zapatero also warned about possible attacks by ETA as the group indicated when it broke the cease-fire that it would resume its violent campaign for independence.

"We're not free of risks of a possible ETA attack," Zapatero said, adding that police were devoting all their efforts to detaining suspects. "We have a threat made by ETA, and it's convenient that we are aware of it."

On Thursday, French police detained three suspected members of the armed group, including the group's alleged logistics chief.

ETA, an acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom in the Basque language, has been waging a violent campaign since the late 1960s for an independent state. Although mainly active in Spain, the group is also present in the Basque region of southern France.

The group was thought to be behind the detonation of two small explosive devices in northern Spain on Wednesday along a route used by the Tour de France cycling race.

(Copyright AP with Expatica)

Subject: Spanish News


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