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Basque premier in court over Batasuna talks

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Basque premier in court over Batasuna talks


In the Basque country of northern Spain, supporters turned out to back the president of the head of the provincial government as he appeared in court. Juan Jose Ibarretxe, prime minister of the Basque region, is accused of holding illegal talks with the representatives of the banned Batasuna party last April.

Ibarretxe held talks with Arnaldo Ortegi leader of the outlawed party, considered to be close to the Basque terrorist group ETA. It happened shortly after ETA declared a ceasefire which has now been put into question following the bombing at Madrid airport a month ago.

Ibarretxe defended his actions: “My mission as prime minister is to conduct a dialogue as often as necessary with everyone involved, including all political movements.”

Earlier this week thousands of people demonstrated in the streets of Bilbao, the Basque capital, in support of the regional government chief. Leaders of Batasuna also appeared in court following the talks.

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