Adams suggests Irish role in Basque peace process

16/02/2005 - 16:29:32

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams suggested today an Irish priest should mediate in the Spanish government’s conflict with Basque terrorists.

In Madrid, he said he believes there is an opportunity in Spain to launch a peace process.

Adams is in Spain for a three days to launch a translated version of his political memoirs, Ireland’s Long Road to Peace.

He said that, for Spain to end its conflict with Eta, a mediator was needed and suggested Northern Irish priest Alex Reid, who also worked for peace in Ireland in the early 1980s.

Adams was to travel north to meet Basque regional president, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, and Arnaldo Otegi, leader of the outlawed radical Basque party Batasuna, considered to be the political wing of terror group Eta.

The Spanish government denies that it is talking with Eta saying the armed group must first declare a ceasefire and give up its weapon caches as a sign of good faith.

Eta has been blamed for more than 800 deaths since the late 1960s in its campaign for an independent Basque homeland in land straddling northern Spain and south-west France.

Its latest attack on February 9, a car bomb injured at least 43 people near Madrid’s convention centre just hours before King Juan Carlos and Mexican President Vicente Fox were to inaugurate a major art fair.

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