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Alex Maskey to attend conference on conflict resolution in Basque Country

9 April, 2004


Sinn Féin MLA for South Belfast Alex Maskey is travelling to the Basque Country this weekend to attend a conference on conflict resolution and the need for multi party talks. Speaking prior to his departure Mr. Maskey said: "I welcome the opportunity to travel to the Basque Country this weekendú and to discuss Sinn Féin's experience of conflict resolution and the need for a peace process to be established. Sinn Féin supports efforts within the Basque Country to establish such a process and believes that such moves should be responded to positively and supported by the international community."

Mr. Maskey said:

"Following the Good Friday Agreement Gerry Adams travelled to the Basque Country and the message that he brought was the need for a peace process to be established and that it was essential that it be on the basis of equality, not criminalisation and exclusion.

"All of us share a responsibility to address conflict and injustice and in particular Irish republicans have sought to share our experience of conflict resolution and the lessons, which we have learned with others, just as we learned much from the ANC in South Africa.

"Sinn Féin believes that all sections of Basque nationalism want to seriously engage in a peace process. If dialogue can work in Ireland it can work in the Basque Country.

"I welcome the opportunity to travel to the Basque Country this weekend and to attend this conference ú which will be attended by political parties, churches, trade unions and peace groups. I will outline to the conference Sinn Féin's experience of conflict resolution and the need for a peace process to be established. Sinn Féin supports efforts within the Basque Country to establish such a process and believe that such moves should be responded to positively and supported by the international community." ENDS

Note:

The conference, which is being organised by Batasuna, will be attended by:

PNV (Partido Nationalista Vasco), EA (Eusko Alkartaguna), Udalbiltza - group of elected representatives, Elkarri - group made up of peace groups and the Churches who have sponsored round table discussions of all parties in the Basque Country, LAB and ELA - Basque Trade Unions

The day-long conference will address conflict resolution, multi-party talks and nation building.

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