Zapatero to hold talks with ETA despite violence
28 September 2006, MADRID — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said his government will still open talks with ETA despite rising street violence in the Basque Country.
28 September 2006
MADRID — Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said his government will still open talks with ETA despite rising street violence in the Basque Country.
Spanish newspapers reported on Thursday Zapatero told parliament his socialist administration was not changing course even after recent street protests or because of what some have interpreted as a threatening message released by ETA last weekend.
At the end of June, three months after ETA declared a permanent cease-fire, the government announced the opening of a dialogue process with the Basque group to try and reach a definitive end to four decades of terrorist violence that has taken more than 800 lives.
After a lengthy period of calm, in recent weeks there have been incidents of street violence, including Molotov cocktail attacks on buses, automatic tellers, a radio station and a courthouse.
In addition, last weekend three hooded men speaking in the name of ETA read a message saying that "until the independence and the socialism of Euskal Herria (the Basque Country) is achieved, we reaffirm our commitment to continue firmly brandishing arms".
In 1968, when dictator Francisco Franco still ruled, ETA launched an armed campaign to create an independent Basque nation from parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.
In his address on Wednesday before the lower house, Zapatero rejected any kind of violence.
He reiterated his firm stance in favour of the peace process and maintaining the principle of legality, among others.
ETA declared its first 'permanent ceasefire' in March.
It has declared ten previous truces, but none of them has lasted.
Meanwhile, the leader of the main opposition Popular Party, Mariano Rajoy, said he, too, was maintaining his principles in the struggle against ETA, which include establishing the Anti-terrorist Pact signed by the socialists and the conservative PP six years ago when the latter was in power.
Rajoy said that "it's very fine to speak about firmness ... (but from there) one has to move to action".
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news