Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Batasuna Wants Peace

Unlike the Spanish State that chose to perpetuate the political conflict with Euskal Herria by sinking the peace talks by having the envoys for the pro-independence Basque side arrested, Batasuna continues to call for the peace process to continue. This interview was published by Alert Net:

INTERVIEW-Batasuna still hopes for Spanish peace talks

12 Jun 2007 12:00:38 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Jason Webb

MADRID, June 12 (Reuters) - A Basque separatist party banned for links to ETA rebels still hopes for a revival of peace talks with the Spanish government despite the end of an ETA ceasefire last week, a leading party member said on Tuesday.

But Joseba Alvarez, a prominent member of banned party Batasuna, said he feared Spain's Socialist government would take a tough stance against ETA in the lead-up to general elections due by next March.

"Our objective is to get back to dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible," Alvarez told Reuters by telephone from Pretoria, where he said he was studying South Africa's transition from apartheid.

He recognised it would be difficult to revive peace talks the government started last year with ETA to end four decades of violent conflict in the Basque Country.

Last week the government responded to ETA's announcement that it was abandoning a ceasefire by transferring the best-known rebel prisoner from hospital to jail. Batasuna's leader Arnaldo Otegi was jailed on Friday for praising terrorism.

The government, now braced for possible ETA bombings or assassinations, regards Batasuna as ETA's political wing.

Alvarez said isolating Basque separatists only made an ETA attack more likely.

"If they step up (police) repression, if everyone starts thinking and talking about what to do when there's an attack, then what we're doing is making it more probable, not less probable," Alvarez said.

The last time ETA struck was in December, when a bomb at Madrid airport killed two people. But the rebels said at the time that their ceasefire still held and the attack was just meant as a warning.

Alvarez said Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero had made the most serious attempt yet to negotiate an end to the Basque conflict. But patience was needed, he added.

"Processes to resolve conflicts tend to be very long and they tend to have their good moments and their bad moments," he said.

Something tells me that Madrid will not pay attention to this call for peace, the Spanish politicians are very comfortable with the colonialist and genocidal past of the country they run.

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