ETA calls for French role in Basque standoff

17th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain, Oct 17 (AFP) - The armed Basque separatist group ETA has called on the French government to play a role in bringing peace to the region in a letter to French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, Spanish magazines reported Monday.

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain, Oct 17 (AFP) - The armed Basque separatist group ETA has called on the French government to play a role in bringing peace to the region in a letter to French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, Spanish magazines reported Monday.

The magazines Cambio 16 and the Basque-language Aldaketa Hamasei reported they had not had access to the letter but quoted French intelligence sources as saying that ETA, fighting for an independent state in northern Spain and parts of southwestern France, wanted "an end to the policy of dispersion which the French government applies with its prisoners."

Ending dispersion of Basque nationalist prisoners to jails around the country, often far from relatives, has been a key ETA demand in ending a conflict which has cost more than 800 lives over four decades.

According to the magazines Sarkozy had received and accepted the letter following mediation by the Catholic Church, in particular French Basque Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was reported as trying to convince Sarkozy of ETA's good intentions.

Sarkozy was said to have "in his possession a missive from ETA leaders in which his government does not stay on the sidelines of a possible solution (reached through) dialogue to end the armed conflict."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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