28 May 1998 Edition

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Basques demonstrate for dialogue

The Good Friday Agreement is now an example to follow for other countries. On Friday, whilethe referenda votes were taking place in Ireland, more than 3000 Basques attended demonstrations organised by Herri Batasuna (HB), the Basque Socialist Independentist party.

Pickets were organised in different towns and cities of the Basque Country under the motto ``Ireland says yes, The Basque Country says yes also''. With these mobilisations HB wanted to express their ``support for the people of the Six Counties, their happiness for this achievement of the Republican movement, and honour SF and IRA activists''. But HB wanted also to highlight the necessity of dialogue and negotiation to solve the Basque conflict.

The demonstrations started at midday in Irunea and Bilbao, with members of the National Executive carrying Irish flags. Pernando Barrena, member of the HB National Executive, explained that they wanted to ``demonstrate the solidarity of the left-wing nationalist people, and particularly of HB, with the Irish Peace Proccess and the new political scenario created by the ratification of the Agreement reached in Stormont.''

Herri Batasuna also has proposed to all the political parties, trade unions and social and non-violent movements to meet at an ``Irish Forum'' to analyse the Peace Process in Ireland and try to find a way to peace for the Basque Country. HB sees the Good Friday Agreement as ``a compromise for peace, a bet for the future'' and reinforces their hopes ``to win back the Basque Country's sovereignty''.

The previous HB's proposal to the Spanish government for dialogue ended with the imprisonment of the 23 members that formed the National Executive. They were sentenced to seven years imprisoment and are currently in jail.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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