The violent Basque separatist group ETA wants France to get involved in planned peace talks with the Spanish government. The armed organisation, which declared a permanent ceasefire on March 22, made the call in the pro-separatist newspaper Gara.
It said French leaders could no longer be what it called “passive viewers” of the conflict, and that they must take part in the process “through dialogue and negotiation”.
The French government has always seen the Basque conflict as strictly a Spanish problem, although territory claimed by ETA
crosses well into France. Today’s news adds a fresh twist to a political debate raging in Spain over whether the country’s socialist government should be holding peace talks with the Basque separatists or not.
On Saturday, 200,000 demonstrators gathered in Madrid demanding the government call off the talks, expected this summer. Among them were relatives of some of the 800 people killed in attacks blamed on ETA
over the past four decades.