GUE/NGL President, Gabi Zimmer, comments: “Our group really welcomes the big efforts in the Basque Peace Process and the will to disarm ETA. After 50 years of armed conflict and more than five years of permanent ceasefire, now is a unique moment to take the next important step to reach a just and lasting peace in the Basque country.”
“Therefore, we also call on the Spanish and the French governments to take this opportunity and support this process which the citizens have been hoping for throughout these decades.”
Basque MEP, Josu Juaristi, adds: “This is a crucial moment for the Basque peace process. The disarmament of ETA is a positive announcement for all the people working for peace and respect for all rights.”
“If all the stakeholders act with the same courage, the rest of the outstanding issues could be dealt with and resolved, including the situation of seriously ill prisoners, dispersal policy, victims and militarisation. We believe it is necessary to keep working until all those issues are resolved”.
The group released the following statement today:
“The GUE/NGL group welcomes the news given by Basque civil society members involved in trying to develop a process of disarmament in the Basque Country. Those members have highlighted that from the 9th of April ETA´s disarmament can be a reality; they have announced that a massive disarmament event will be held in Baiona on the 8th of April and have invited all those who want a 'just and lasting peace' to participate. This news has been recognised as genuine by the main stakeholders in the Basque Country, including EH Bildu spokeperson, Arnaldo Otegi. This process includes the leadership of Basque civil society, international verification and the support of Basque institutions and parties.”
“We hope that this opportunity will be leveraged to progress in the necessary peace process that the Basque people want to achieve. Therefore, we urge the Spanish and French governments to grasp this opportunity and not block it, as in previous occasions. This process has the support of the majority of Basque society and institutions. We request the Spanish Government and especially the French Government to at least allow this to happen with all the guarantees of security and acknowledgement, if not support it. This is good news for EU security and peace and nobody should try to oppose it.”