The end of violence by Basque separatist group ETA could be in site, after a meeting attended by international political figures.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ex-Irish Prime Minister Bertie Aherne and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams were among those in San Sebastian in northern Spain, searching for a peaceful outcome.
Bertie Ahern, appealed to the group to put down their arms: “We call upon ETA to make a public declaration of a definitive cessation of all armed action and to request talks with the governments of Spain and France to address exclusively the consequences of the conflict.”
Some of the international guests had been involved in brokering peace deals in Ireland and South Africa.
The Spanish government, along with the EU and US, call ETA terrorists. Refusing to negotiate with them at all, no government representatives were at Monday’s meeting. However, some of the families of the group’s victims were in San Sebastian.
Consuelo Ordoñez, the sister of an ETA victim, said the foreign politicians at the conference did not understand the whole situation:
“Those people that came here from England, South Africa, France, Germany… I don’t think they know anything about the recent history of this country, the history of terror in a country where these people carry out killing and we are murdered.”
ETA has killed over 800 people in 40 years. The group declared a ceasefire in January, but these have been broken in the past.