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Adams - Dialogue and Inclusion required in the Basque Country

15 April, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has expressed deep concern at the continued exclusion of political parties including Batasuna and Aukera Guztiak from contesting this weekend's regional elections in the Basque Country. Despite the fact that Aukera Guztiak (All Options) had collected the required 30,000 signatures to contest the election and were approved by the Electoral Commission they have been banned by the Spanish Government and prevented from contesting Sunday's election.

Mr. Adams said:

"Following the Good Friday Agreement I travelled to the Basque Country and the message that I 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.

"I travelled to the Basque Country again in January 2005 and offered my support and assistance in building an inclusive process.

"Sinn Féin believes that all sections of Basque nationalism want to seriously engage in a peace process. Therefore we are deeply concerned that legislation remains in place to ban political parties such as Batasuna and Aukera Guztiak and a range of Basque cultural and youth organisations.

"Our experience of conflict resolution has shown that the only way that progress will occur is on the basis of inclusive dialogue based on equality and respect.

"Sinn Féin supports efforts within the Basque Country to establish such a process and believe that such moves should be responded to positively by the Spanish Government and supported by the International Community."ENDS

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