Spain opposition chief rules out dialogue with ETA

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Spanish opposition chief Mariano Rajoy, tipped to win November elections, Sunday ruled out any dialogue with the Basque group ETA despite its decision to end separatist violence, the Catalan newspaper El Periodico reported.

"No government, if I lead it, will have a dialogue on anything with a terrorist organisation," Rajoy told the paper in an interview.

The Rajoy-led Popular Party (PP) is expected to chase the ruling Socialists out of office in Spain's November 20 vote, according to opinion polls.

ETA on Thursday announced a "definitive" end to its armed campaign for Basque independence which began more than 40 years ago.

When it made the announcement, ETA issued "an appeal to the governments of Spain and France to open a process of direct dialogue," to resolve the outstanding issues that feuled the violence.

"If the PP wins the next election, I am not not certain that it will have to pay any price for the definitive end to violence and I can already say, in any case, that I am not prepared to do so," he added.

Rajoy has previously called ETA's move a very important step, but insisted the group must still "irreversibly dissolve."

© 2011 AFP

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