Zapatero calls for united front to defeat ETA terrorism

27th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 February 2006, SEVILLE — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called on the opposition Popular Party to support the government's fight against terrorism saying that it should do so not to bolster him but rather the country as a whole.

27 February 2006

SEVILLE —  Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called on the opposition Popular Party to support the government's fight against terrorism saying that it should do so not to bolster him but rather the country as a whole.

Zapatero, who was in the southern town of Dos Hermanas near Seville to take part in a Socialist Party event, directed some of his remarks at "the violent ones" who perpetrate terrorism, saying that the Spanish people would achieve peace and freedom.

The premier made his remarks after a huge demonstration was held in Madrid on Saturday to protest the administration's policy in the anti-terrorism struggle.

The rally was convened by the Association of Victims of Terrorism and supported by the conservative Popular Party(PP).

Zapatero did not refer specifically to the demonstration, but he said he regretted the PP's attitude in general regarding the anti-terrorism stance of the government.

He said that when he had been in the opposition, he had given his "full and unconditional" support in the anti-terrorism fight to the previous PP government of Jose Maria Aznar.

"I didn't do it to support Aznar, but to support my country, democracy and freedom. And now I'm asking (the PP leaders) for their support in the fight against terrorism not to support me, but to support the country, the state, democracy, freedom and peace," he said.

He also called on his party members to maintain their "calm" and not to respond to the tone used by the PP.

On Sunday, a bomb planted in front of bank in Vitoria left two people slightly injured.

Authorities said it was thought to be the work of ETA.

Last Wednesday, suspected Basque extremists exploded a bomb at a factory that makes metal containers in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao, causing damage but no injuries.

Prior to the blast, an anonymous caller telephoned in a bomb tip to the Basque daily Gara, which publishes the communiques of the terrorist group ETA.

After the warning, police went to the industrial park and found a backpack at the Barrenechea Goiri company's factory that had a sign reading "Danger bomb" on it.

Basque regional government interior ministry officials confirmed there was a blast that caused extensive damage at the industrial park but did not say whether the bomb exploded or was detonated by police explosives experts.

The attack came six days after a bomb exploded in an industrial area in the Basque town of Trapagaran, near Bilbao. An anonymous caller also phoned in a warning to Gara about an hour before the 16 February attack.

On 1 February, a powerful bomb planted by ETA exploded at Vizcaya province's central post office about one kilometre (0.62 miles) from the site of last Wednesday's bombing, but no one was injured.

Police were alerted prior to the blast by a telephone tip phoned in in the name of the Basque terrorist group.

Hopes for an end to ETA's 38-year campaign of terrorist violence have dominated the political debate in Spain in recent weeks, especially since Zapatero said on 10 February that circumstances were propitious for "the beginning of the beginning of the end" to terrorism by the Basque extremists.

Zapatero said his appraisal of the situation represented neither "optimism nor pessimism" but was rather based on facts, such as an absence of lethal ETA attacks since May 2003.

He also cited "information the government has," which he said must be handled with discretion.

On 18 February, ETA issued a communique addressing speculation about a possible truce and said "the solution to the conflict will not come through unilateral decisions."

ETA called on all Basque parties "to take steps now without waiting for anyone. The time has come to make firm commitments and important decisions on the future of Euskal Herria (the Basque region), moving boldly from words to deeds".

ETA is an acronym for the Basque words meaning "Homeland and Freedom."

The group took up arms in 1968, when Spain was governed by the rightist dictatorship of Francisco Franco, with the aim of carving out an independent Basque nation from portions of northern Spain and south-western France.

The terrorist group has killed 817 people over the past four decades.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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