Zapatero admits 'clear error' over ETA speech before bomb

15th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

15 January 2007, MADRID — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero admitted on Monday he made a 'clear error' in his optimistic speech the day before ETA bombed Madrid airport killing two people.

15 January 2007

MADRID —  Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero admitted on Monday he made a 'clear error' in his optimistic speech the day before ETA bombed Madrid airport killing two people.

In his first address to parliament since the bomb attack last month, Zapatero referred to his speech in which he said the conflict with the Basque Country 'would be better than before' in 2007.

The next day ETA devastated the airport with a huge car bomb, killing two Ecuadorian immigrants.

Zapatero wants to try to win the support of the conservative opposition Popular Party (PP) for his stance on terrorism.

But the PP has said it will only support the government if the socialists refuse to negotiate with ETA – something they have not ruled out.

The premier said in his first published interview since the attack at Barajas airport that "ETA only has one destiny: the end."

In the interview with the daily El Pais, Zapatero flatly denied that Spain was going through a crisis situation.

"We had a tragic attack, but a crisis: absolutely not," the prime minister said.

Zapatero - who in his remarks reproached the PP- called for the "reforming of a great national consensus in the fight against ETA, in the political and in the social (areas)".

With respect to the electoral prospects of the banned independent Basque group Batasuna, which is considered to be ETA's political arm, Zapatero told El Pais that he did not feel it would be possible for them to run in the municipal elections in May because "the first democratic condition is to condemn violence".

The interview was published just hours after demonstrations on Saturday in Madrid, Bilbao and other Spanish cities called by the leftist UGT and CCOO unions, as well as by the National Federation of Associations of Ecuadorians in Spain, to reject ETA's terrorism and show solidarity with its two most recent victims, Diego Armando Estacio and Carlos Alonso Palate.

The attack ended the cease-fire the Basque separatist group - which in its four-decade campaign to carve out an independent Basque nation from parts of northern Spain and southwestern France has killed more than 800 people - had been adhering to since last  March.

The PP leader, Mariano Rajoy, called on Zapatero to "rectify" his anti-terrorist policy when he appears before parliament.

Rajoy said he would press Zapatero for the change in policy because "it's what's good for Spain".

"The comfortable and easy thing is to be quiet, to (have) a slogan of everyone for peace, as if someone was at war here," he added in reference to one of the slogans used on Saturday at the demonstration held in Madrid condemning the car bombing, a protest in which the PP, the country's largest opposition party, did not participate.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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