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Sinn Féin MLA, Alex Maskey, to speak at Basque Sortu Refounding Congress

20 January, 2017 - by Alex Maskey

West Belfast MLA, Alex Maskey, will represent Sinn Féin at the Basque Sortu Refounding Congress on 21 January.

Alex will address the congress, which will include delegates from Palestine, South Africa, Catalonia, Colombia, Latin America and the European grouping, GUE/NGL.

Speaking ahead of his travel Mr Maskey said:

"In 2011, an International Conference for the Resolution of the conflict in the Basque Country took place in Donostia/San Sebastian. International representation included former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, and Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams.

"As an outcome of the conference, the Declaration of Aiete was presented. This declaration proposed a process of dialogue and negotiation and a prior declaration of a definitive cessation of armed activity from ETA. ETA's declaration  of a definitive cessation was announced a few days later, creating a unique and historic opportunity to address the causes as well as the consequences of the conflict.

"Unfortunately, in the intervening years, and despite numerous attempts to deal with the core issues the conflict the Spanish Government have failed to grasp this historic opportunity.

"They need to recognise that dialogue is central to resolution.

"Sinn Féin will continue to express solidarity with, and support the democratic rights of, the Basque people to a just and lasting peace. The political growth of the Basque Independent movement is testament to the fact that Spanish intransigence will fail to deny progress. That is the message I will deliver to Sortu delegates on this historic occasion."

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