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Basque leader Otegi to attend historic Sinn Féin Ard Fheis

15 March, 2016 - by Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney has said Basque leader Arnaldo Otegi will attend this year’s Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Dublin.

Mr Kearney said;

"Sinn Féin is delighted to announce that recently released Basque leader, Arnaldo Otegi, will attend and address the party’s 2016 Ard Fheis in the National Convention Centre, Dublin, on the weekend of 22 and 23 April.

"Arnaldo Otegi’s presence allows Irish republicans to welcome his release from prison and extend to his family and comrades our support and solidarity. He has been a champion of the Basque struggle for independence, as well as a relentless champion of the Basque peace process.

"He has demonstrated huge vision and resolve in the face of intransigence by the Spanish Government, particularly during the last six years of his imprisonment.

"The opportunities created as a result of Arnaldo Otegi’s release should be welcomed by all people of good will who are committed to the development of the Basque peace process.

"Arnaldo Otegi has played a positive and constructive role in the development of that process. His leadership has helped shape the response of the Basque people to the opportunity it provides.

"The Spanish government should now embrace the opportunity which exists to enhance the process of peace. 

"It should discontinue its draconian and punitive actions; address the intolerable conditions in which many Basque prisoners are being held; end the policy of dispersion, release all prisoners with ill health, and prepare for the release of all political prisoners.

"Opening up meaningful negotiations and sustained dialogue is the only way forward for all the peoples of the Basque and Spanish states. This should commence without further delay."