Spain will not negotiate with ETA

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Spanish Deputy Prime Minister reiterates the government will not open talks with the Basque separatist group.

San Jose – The Spanish government will not negotiate with ETA following two bomb attacks blamed on the Basque separatist group, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said Monday.

"We can repeat this as many times as necessary -- there are not, nor will there be, negotiations with ETA," de la Vega told reporters, after bombings that left two policemen dead in the run-up to ETA's 50th anniversary.

"This door has been closed and the government is not prepared to open it," she said in Costa Rica, where she is kicking off a Latin American tour.

The minister was reacting to reports in the Spanish press on Monday that claimed talks were taking place between ETA and the government through intermediaries.

Meanwhile, Spain's interior minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba extended that hardline stance Monday by saying Batasuna, the banned political wing of ETA, would also remain banned.

Batasuna "must know very clearly that it will never return to our institutions as long as ETA exists," the minister told radio Onda Cero.

Days after bombings that also left 64 people including several children wounded after an attack on a civil guard barracks, Rubalcaba said "the courts have demonstrated that ETA and Batasuna are the same thing."

When asked about past efforts going back to 1989 by Basque nationalist leaders to separate ETA and Batasuna in public consciousness, Rubalcaba said bluntly: "Neither legalisation, nor dialogue."

ETA, which marked its 50th anniversary on Friday, is blamed for the deaths of 828 people in its campaign for an independent Basque homeland.

AFP / Expatica

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