ETA "not a reliable" negotiating partner

27th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

MADRID, Feb 27, 2007 (AFP) - The Basque separatist group ETA remains active in France and is not a reliable negotiating partner, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said in a newspaper interview published Tuesday in Spain.

MADRID, Feb 27, 2007 (AFP) - The Basque separatist group ETA remains active in France and is not a reliable negotiating partner, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said in a newspaper interview published Tuesday in Spain.

Sarkozy told the conservative daily El Mundo that last December's deadly airport bombing had been "enough to conclude that the organisation has once again failed to behave like a reliable partner."

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called off peace talks with ETA after the bombing of Madrid's international airport, which killed two people.

The right-wing Sarkozy, one of the front-runners in France's presidential race, was due to meet Zapatero and Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba in Madrid on Tuesday.

He told El Mundo that since Basque separatists had declared a ceasefire in March 2006, French police had discovered nine homes where its activists had sought refuge, three of its logistics bases and 63 stolen vehicles.

"I don't know if the desire on the part of ETA to stop the violence was ever sincere or if the ceasefire was a means on its part to reorganize," he added.

Sarkozy dismissed ETA's insistent that its ceasefire was still in place as "extravagant" and "indecent".

ETA's four-decade armed campaign for an independent Basque homeland comprising parts of northern Spain and southern France has claimed more than 800 lives.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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