Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has described as ‘momentous and very welcome the announcement today by ETA that it has begun a process of putting all of its arms beyond operational use. The statement also confirms the report last weekend of the International Verification Committee”
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“Today’s announcement by ETA is a historic development. The decision by ETA to put all of its arms beyond operational use is evidence of that groups’ commitment to the Basque peace process agreed by the Basque people in recent years and to peaceful and democratic politics.
Many in the Basque country look to the success of the Irish peace process as a template for their endeavours.
Sinn Féin has worked closely with the Basque parties to help encourage the building of a peace process.
There is an onus on the Spanish government to respond positively to this announcement.
There is an opportunity for peace. It must not be squandered. Peace processes need constant attention and encouragement, and the active and positive participation of all sides.
Confidence building measures – which were an important part of the Irish peace process - can assist in this. In this context the release of Arnaldo Otegi, Secretary General of SORTU would be an important step, as would the ending of harsh penal policies aimed at Basque prisoners.
These and other related measures would make a real difference in strengthening the peace process and facilitate progress toward demilitarisation and national reconciliation.”
Note to Editor:
In 1998, after the Good Friday Agreement Gerry Adams travelled to the Basque country. He travelled again in 2005, 2006 and again in 2011.
In September 2010 ETA announced a ceasefire. It came after a long process of dialogue and internal discussion among Basque activists. This dialogue involved Gerry Adams and other Sinn Féin representatives.
In October 2011 ETA announced a definitive cessation of its armed activity.
In October 2011 a Sinn Féin delegation, including Gerry Adams, travelled to the Basque country along with Jonathan Powell, former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; Pierre Joxe, former French Defence and Interior Minister; former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Gro Harland Bruntland, a former Norwegian Prime Minister.
They participated in a conference in Donostia - San Sebastian in Euskadi entitled; ‘International conference to promote the resolution of the conflict in the Basque County’.