Expatica news

ETA links to Hizbollah mar Syrian visit

2 June 2004

MADRID – The Syrian government ordered the Lebanese terror group Hizbollah to cut contact with ETA to any avoid embarrassment while the president of the Arab state was visiting Spain, it was reported Wednesday.

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that the Syrian intelligence service ordered Hizbollah to cut ties with the Basque terrorists while President President Bashar al-Asad, of Syria, and his wife, Ashma visited Madrid.

The Syrian premier was meeting Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero Wednesday as part of a two-day visit to reinforce bilateral relations.

Asad was received by the Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia Tuesday at a gala dinner in his honour.

The Italian newspaper claimed the Syrian regime, which is said to finance the Lebanese terror movement, wanted to stop embarrassing revelations from emerging during the visit.

During the 1970s, ETA had contacts with a number of Middle Eastern terrorist groups in order to obtain arms.

It is thought these links still exist.

And the Spanish daily El Mundo claimed that ETA also had links to the Algerian terrorist organisation, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) which is notorious for their brutal campaign in their own country.

It printed extracts from secretly taped conversations between two ETA terrorists made in jail, in which they discuss working with GIA after the 11 September terror attacks in the United States.

Meanwhile, The Spanish king said the United Nations must become involved in seeking a solution in Iraq, adding that UN resolutions are the “way to achieve that just and comprehensive peace that we all yearn for” in the Middle East.

The monarch said the latest developments in the Middle East are being followed closely in Spain and said that his country, “like Syria, is convinced that peace can only be reached through a comprehensive and just solution.”

The king, who expressed his appreciation for Syria’s show of support after the March 11 attacks in Madrid, said “no country is free from the threat of terrorism.”

The monarch, who in October made a three-day state visit with the queen to Syria, reiterated Spain’s support for the Arab country.

But critics claim the Syrian dictatorship has supported terrorism for many years.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news