Basque's ETA asks France to join peace talks

15th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

BAYONNE, France, June 14, 2006 (AFP) - The Basque separatist group ETA on Wednesday called on the French government to join talks on resolving the conflict in the Basque region of northern Spain and southwest France.

BAYONNE, France, June 14, 2006 (AFP) - The Basque separatist group ETA on Wednesday called on the French government to join talks on resolving the conflict in the Basque region of northern Spain and southwest France.

ETA, which declared a permanent ceasefire on March 22 after a bloody 38-year campaign for independence, has often criticised France for dismissing its cause as being a Spanish problem.

In a statement to local French media ETA called for France to commit to "the path of discussion and negotiation".

"The only possible way to solve the conflict and to avoid feeding cycles of violence is negotiation," ETA said in the text marked with its symbol of a snake and an axe, in Basque and in French.

"So we're asking the French government to give up using repression, to stop without delay all attacks on Basque citizens and the whole of the Basque country," the statement said.

"The Basque conflict is taboo in France," it added, criticising French media for being too selective in their coverage, mainly showing crackdowns and ETA activities, and being influenced by the French government.

"As long as the French state doesn't recognise the rights of the Basque people, the conflict will continue," ETA said.

It also called on French people to stand up to the "repressive politics" of their government, which it said was taking over Basque land.

The statement, delivered by letter, reached several media, including Euskal Irratiak, an association of radios in the French Basque country.

ETA usually communicates with Spanish Basque media.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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