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Sinn Féin calls on EU to support Basque Peace Process

25 October, 2006

Speaking from the European Parliament today Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has called on the European Union to support the emerging peace process in the Basque Country.

Ms de Brún said:

"Since the announcement of the ETA ceasefire in March of this year Sinn Féin has argued that there exists a unique opportunity for resolving the conflict in the Basque Country. This remains the case today. All those political forces that believe this to be an important political objective, including the European Union, should do all in their power to ensure that this opportunity is grasped.

"Our party has met with all of the principle political protagonists in the process, and continues to remain engaged, offering whatever assistance is deemed appropriate.

"It is our firm belief that in order for this process to be advanced, there must be dialogue between all parties, dealing with all issues, and within an agreed timeframe. Our own experience of conflict resolution in Ireland has demonstrated that progress requires momentum.

"Equally, we believe that the ongoing political trials against Basque left nationalist political organisations and activists and the continued banning of Batasuna is unhelpful and runs contrary to the logic of conflict resolution.

"In light of this we are calling on the European Union to do everything in its power to ensure that such dialogue takes place and is supported by concrete measures which would help build confidence in the peace process in that country.

"Sinn Féin strongly believes that ultimately it is the people of the Basque Country who must themselves, freely and democratically, decide their own future. However all of us who share their objective for peace and democracy have an obligation to do everything in our power to assist in achieving these ends." ENDS

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