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13 September 2000 Edition

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Concern at arrest of Basque leaders

Sinn Féin has expressed concern over the arrest of 20 members of the regional executives of the Basque independence party, Euskal Herritarok, by the Spanish Government.

West Belfast Assemble member Alex Maskey said that the move would not help to resolve the long-running conflict in the Basque Country. ``Repression and violations of human rights have never brought peace,'' he said. ``The Spanish Government must change their minsert and realise that these arrests are counter-productive and undermine the search for real peace.

``Peace requires courage, imagination and negotiations. It requires a democratic settlement base don the recognition of a people's rights to self determination and equality. As peace processes throughout the world demonstrate, only when exclusion and criminalisation are left behind and dialogue and agreement are placed centre stage, can a true and lasting settlement to any conflict be found.''
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