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Catalan leader admits secret ETA meeting

Published on 26/01/2004

26 January 2004

BARCELONA – Joseph Carod-Rovira, joint leader of the Catalonian parliament, confirmed Monday he had recently been in contact with members of ETA “to help to contribute to the possibility that ETA would hold a truce and cease its armed struggle”.

Carod, who is leader of the left-wing ERC party, was reacting to allegations in the ABC newspaper Monday which said he had a meeting with members of the terrorist group in France with a view to trying to persuade them not to launch attacks in Catalonia.

He was widely attacked Monday by politicians from all parties for meeting with members of the terrorist group, which has been blamed for the deaths of more than 800 people over the past 36 years.

Carod confirmed that a a meeting took place but would not say the date or place. But he said no pact, or agreement or promise had been made as he did not go in the name of any government”.

Of this meeting, Carod said, there only existed one document in which he proposed the need to defend “a peaceful and democratic route and to reach and conserve the rights of all the people in Spain”.

Carod assumed personal responsibility for the meeting and said he was acting as the leader of the left-wing ERC party not as leader of the Catalonian government.

His party has formed a three-way pact with the socialists and independent green socialist parties in Catalonia.

Carod is leader of the ERC faction on the new government, which replaced more than 20 years of rule in Catalonia by the right-wing CiU, which was led by veteran politician Jordi Pujol.

Angel Acebes, Minister of the Interior from the ruling conservative Popular Party, demanded an explanation from Carod and Pasquall Maragall, the other leader of the Catalonian regional parliament over the allegations in ABC newspaper.

Acebes said : “If he confirms this situation it would produce a situation of double inmorality” for “someone who is prepared to pay a political price to ETA” .

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news