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ETA row hots up

Published on 28/01/2004

28 January 2004

MADRID – The opposition parties demanded Wednesday that the government reveal how it knew about a secret meeting between former Catalan leader Josep Lluis Carod-Rovira and ETA.

Carod, formerly one of the three leaders heading the Catalan regional government, resigned Tuesday over his meeting with members of the terrorist group in France.

It has been claimed Wednesday that details of the meeting were leaked to the right-wing ABC newspaper – which published a report Monday – by members of the intelligence service, CNI.

The meeting, which Carod claimed was to try to stop ETA attacks on Catalonia, was condemned by all political groups and forced him to resign his post as joint head of the tripartite regional government in Catalonia.

The timing could not have been worse – at the start of an international conference on the victims of terrorism held in Madrid.

Jesús Caldera, socialist parliament spokesman for the opposition PSOE party, asked prime minister Jose Maria Aznar to explain how the information was leaked to the press about Carod’s meeting.

Caldera also wanted to know why the suspected terrorists at these meetings were not arrested.

Caldera asked if the government preferred to use the information from the intelligence service to help them win the forthcoming general election on March 14 – or for the fight against terrorism.

The scandal has damaged the left-wing in Spain.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, PSOE leader, demanded that Carod resigned.

José Jon Imaz, leader of the nacionalist Basque party PNV, said it was “unacceptable” that the security services were used to help the interests of the ruling Popular Party, of which Aznar is the outgoing leader.

But Mariano Rajoy, leader of the ruling Popular Party and prime ministerial candidate claimed Zapatero was “lost in a labyrinth and advanced without a route”.

Rajoy claimed the affair had shown Zapatero lacked authority.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news