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Political initiative expected after peace marches in Spain

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Political initiative expected after peace marches in Spain


After a weekend of public rallies and ceremonies remembering the victims in last month’s Madrid airport bombing, attention is to move from Spain’s streets to the country’s parliament. The prime minister is to announce several measures to deal with the armed group ETA in what’s expected to be a new strategy. Spain’s political opposition, the Popular Party, boycotted the anti-ETA street protests, demanding that the government must rule out any dialogue with the group.

But the PP’s leader, Mariano Rajoy, has said he was prepared to back the government as long there was a clear decision to defeat ETA. “ It must be made clear that there would be no negotiations with people who are obviously not ready to talk.”

In his first newspaper interview since the attack Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he had been surprised by the bombing. Zapatero has come in for much criticism since the December 30 blast, as some felt he was slow to close the door on peace talks with the group. His government has now broken off a process that many had hoped would end ETA’s violent campaign for a separate Basque homeland.

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