Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has called on the Spanish Government to acknowledge the valuable contribution by the Basque Political Prisoners Collective to endorse the peace process strategy made this week.
Speaking today Mr. Kelly said:
“This is a bold step by the Basque Political Prisoners and is a positive contribution to the development of a peace process. They have set out a number of issues that they can play an active role in not least stating that they endorse the pursuance of political objectives through exclusively political means and also recognising suffering of all those who have been affected by the conflict.
“In any conflict political prisoners have a key role to play in finding a resolution to that particular conflict. Dealing with the issue of prisoners is an essential part of developing the peace process.
“It is now two years since ETA declared an end to their armed campaign and since international leaders including Kofi Anan and Gerry Adams attended the Aiete International conference calling for the Spanish government to play an active and positive role in the peace process.
“The conditions exist for a process of dialogue aimed at resolving the conflict in the Basque Country. The Spanish government should now recognise and reciprocate the valuable contribution that this statement has made to the entire process. There should now be movement on the issue of Basque political prisoners by the Spanish Government. They should release all ill prisoners immediately while transferring all political prisoners to gaols in the Basque Country pending their eventual release. ”