Support the Peace Process in the Basque Country - Adams
Former Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, commenting on the tenth anniversary of the Aiete International Conference in Donostia in the Basque Country – which he participated in – and the end of armed actions by ETA said:
“The Aieta International Conference proved to be a watershed moment in the process of building peace and ending conflict in the Basque Country.
“Within days of our call on ETA to end the last armed confrontation in Europe the Basque organisation called a definitive cessation. Since then it has also disarmed and no longer exists.
"Arriving at that historic point was a result of considerable behind the scenes efforts, involving many people, including Sinn Féin. Irish republicans were pleased to be able to share our experience of promoting dialogue, finding agreements and negotiating peace.
"At that time I urged the governments of Spain and France to welcome the progress that had been made and to begin the next steps in promoting reconciliation, addressing the issue of victims and recognising that a serious effort has to be made to heal personal and social wounds.
“I specifically referenced the issue of prisoners and acknowledging the democratic rights of all political parties and treating them as equals.
“Regrettably ten years later and the issue of prisoners has not been resolved.
“There are still 197 Basque political prisoners, as well as others who are unable to return to their homes.
“The Spanish government can build confidence into the peace process by putting in place a prison policy that sees prisoners, who played a significant part in making the peace possible, released.
"Regrettably, there has been no progress on the central issue of national self-determination for the people of the Basque country.
"I want to commend the pro-independence left for keeping its commitments and working to advance their objectives through exclusively peaceful and democratic means.
"Sinn Féin remains committed to doing what we can to assist in building peace and reconciliation and to creating the new future the people of the Basque Country and the Spanish state desire.”