Peace process 'not over' says Batasuna, despite bombing

3rd January 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 January 2007, PARIS — The political wing of the Basque separatist group Eta said on Wednesday peace talks with the Spanish government are not over, despite the bomb attack on Madrid airport.

3 January 2007

PARIS — The political wing of the Basque separatist group Eta said on Wednesday peace talks with the Spanish government are not over, despite the bomb attack on Madrid airport.

Xabi Larralde, a Batasuna spokesman, said the peace process "is not broken".

The banned group gave a news conference in Bayonne, France, five days after the massive bomb attack on Madrid airport.

Two Ecuadoreans are missing believed dead and 19 others were injured.

Larralde said the peace process was at a "critical" phase but "our commitment is for it to move forward".

Batasuna has urged Eta militants to explain why they bombed Barajas airport.

Joseba Alvaraz, a Batasuna member, told a Basque radio station: "It was not expected by anyone, even though we all knew the [peace] process was in crisis."

Earlier, Spain's Socialist government said ETA's car-bomb attack has left the fledgling peace process between the radical Basque separatists and Madrid "broken, liquidated and finished".

Interior minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba made the comments but dismissed criticism about the government's anti-terrorist policy from the main opposition Popular Party(PP).

He also called all parliamentary parties to a meeting next week with the aim of finding a joint strategy to confront the situation created by Saturday's attack on a parking garage at Madrid's Barajas airport, which left two dead.

With regard to the demand of the conservative PP that the government formally consider the peace process broken, Perez Rubalcaba said: "ETA broke it, liquidated and finished it."

Meanwhile, the PP - which has been saying that Zapatero's anti-terrorist policy is a "glaring failure" - demanded on t the premier issue a "formal declaration of the rupture of the negotiations with terrorism".

It also demanded that "political, police and judicial measures" be adopted against ETA - which is deemed a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States - and its political arm, the outlawed Batasuna party.

The PP's Ignacio Astarloa urged the prime minister to "put an end, without delay, to the policy based on obscurity and confusion."

The car-bomb attack was carried out with an explosives-packed van in the five-story parking garage at Terminal 4 at Barajas, resulting in extensive material damage to the structure and to dozens of vehicles.

The two Ecuadorians who are believed to have died in the attack are Diego Armando Estacio Sivisapa, 19, and Carlos Alonso Palate, 35. Their bodies have not been found so far.

ETA had proclaimed a "permanent cease-fire" in March, the tenth such truce declared by the group since it burst onto the scene in 1968, when Spain was still ruled by dictator Francisco Franco.

The ceasefire, combined with the absence of any fatal attacks by the group in the preceding 3 1/2 years, had favoured the opening of the now-aborted peace process.

ETA has killed more than 800 people in its campaign to create an independent Basque nation from parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The spokesman for the moderate-nationalist Basque regional government, Miren Azkarate, said on Tuesday that after the most recent ETA attack it would be necessary to secure the participation of all of Basque society "to try to overcome the difficult situation" caused by the attack.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Marxist-leaning United Left coalition, Gaspar Llamazares, called on the authorities to continue to exert "political and judicial pressure on the ETA terrorist band".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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