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Martin McGuinness travels to Basque Country

12 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief negotiator Martin McGuinness will tomorrow travel to the Basque Country for a three day series of meetings and events. Invited by Batasuna, Martin McGuinness will address a series of public and private meetings involving Batasuna activists on Sinn Fein's experience of peace building in Ireland.

Martin McGuinness will also meet a number of the smaller political parties in the Basque Country including Eusko Alkartasuna and Esker Batua.

Speaking before his departure Mr McGuinness said:

"Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams visited the Basque Country last week as part of our party's ongoing engagement with the developing conflict resolution process in the region. Having met with all the key political players his assessment was both positive and optimistic.

"My visit this week is part of Sinn Fein‚s ongoing engagement with Batasuna and the Basque process. I will be meeting with local political activists and party leaderships from Batasuna, Eusko Alkartasuna and Esker Batua and outlining our experience of conflict resolution in Ireland.

"This is clearly a very important moment in the Basque process. While Sinn Fein does not believe that the situations in our respective countries are the same, clearly there are underlying principles of conflict resolution which may be of some use to protagonists in the Basque Country.

"From our experience these principles include; the need for inclusive dialogue; the need for all issues to be on the table; the importance of having no predetermined outcomes,; and crucially the importance of the right for people to determine their own future democratically and free from outside interference." ENDS

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