Zapatero announces historic peace talks with ETA
29 June 2006, MADRID — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced on Thursday historic peace taks with ETA.
29 June 2006
MADRID — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced on Thursday historic peace taks with ETA.
The prime minister made a short statement to parliament which was broadcast live on Spanish TV.
He said: "Democracy is not going to pay any price to get peace."
The Basque terrorist group declared a permanent ceasefire three months ago.
Zapatero had promised to visit the lower house of Parliament before the end of June, when MPs go on their summer recess until September.
The peace talks were condemned by the conservative opposition Popular Party (PP), which recently withdrew its backing claiming Zapatero's administration was following a timetable laid out by ETA and by its banned political arm, Batasuna.
Mariano Rajoy, PP leader, said millions of Spaniards wanted to a see an end to ETA.
The Association of the Victims of Terrorism also said this marked the "saddest day for democracy".
ETA has engaged in a 38-year armed campaign to carve out an independent state from portions of northern Spain and southwestern France.
Over the past several years, however, it has substantially reduced its use of violence in that effort.
Talks between the government and ETA are expected to be followed by the legalisation of Batasuna, the banned political wing of the separatist organisation.
Batasuna is currently classed as a terrorist organisation.
But the move, which is bound to meet with opposition from victims groups and the PP, would make all-party talks possible.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news