25 March 2004 Edition

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ETA ready to negotiate

In a statement released on Sunday 21 March, the Basque pro-independence organisation ETA reiterated its readiness to find a solution to the conflict in the Basque Country through dialogue. In its message, the organisation asked Socialist leader and incoming Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to be "brave" and asserted that it is possible to achieve an end to the current situation "using wisdom and reason".

ETA conceded that the solution to the political conflict "will not be easy" and that the solution is not in the hands of "one person or organisation". It also emphasised "the right to self-determination for the Basque Country".

The Basque organisation also repeated a statement made on the day of the elections saying it hoped the new Spanish Government had more common sense "so we can obtain through dialogue a peace based on rights for the Basque Country".

ETA believes the conflict in the Basque Country has "an international dimension", and that is why it considers that any agreement towards its solution will need the "support and guarantee of Europe and the international community".

ETA described as "brave" Zapatero's decision to take Spanish troops out of Iraq. ETA called on Zapatero to make similar decisions when it comes to the Basque Country.

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