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Gerry Adams departs for three day visit to Basque Country, Spain & Catalonia

6 June, 2006

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams will tomorow  begin a three day trip to Bilbao, Madrid and Barcelona to meet Basque, Spanish and Catalan political leaders. The meetings will discuss the developing peace process in the Basque Country and explore ways in which Sinn Fein's experience of conflict resolution in  Ireland can assist the key players in Spain and the Basque Country.

During his short tour Gerry Adams will meet a wide spectrum of political and business opinion. In Bilbao he will be hosted by Batasuna. In Madrid he will be hosted by the New Economic Forum and in Barcelona he will be hosted by the political party ERC.

While in Barcelona Mr Adams will also receive an international award from CIEMEN, a Catalan NGO who campaign for the cultural and linguistic rights of ethnic minorities and stateless nations.

Mr Adams said:

'This week the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero is expected to make a formal request to the Spanish parliament alowing him to open direct  negotiations with ETA.  There is also a growing demand for multi party talks to begin  between all political parties in the Basque Country and for the unbanning of Batasuna.

'The purpose of my brief visit to Bilbao, Madrid and Barcelona is to meet and listen to a broad range of political and civic opinion, and where possible  to reflect on Sinn Féin's experience and on the lessons of the Irish peace process.'

Note to editor: During his visit Mr Adams will meet with representatives of Batasuna, The Spanish Socialist Party, The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV)  the Left Republicans of Catalonia (ERC).

Note to editor: The Madrid based New Economic Forum is a key social and economic think tank sponsored by all main political parties across the Spanish State.

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