Yesterday the political wing of the Basque terrorist group ETA sent a public letter to Zapatero, suggesting that he could become the “Tony Blair” of Spanish politics (is that really something to aspire to????).
For the first time in Spain’s history, Batasuna (equivalent to Sinn Fein) proposes in its letter an agreement between nationalists and non-nationalists and suggests that all political groups should negotiate an agreement and then put it to the Basque people in the form of a referendum.
In what has been quite an intensive week as far as the Basque country is concerned, Spanish president Zapatero met with the Basque regional president on Thursday. Yesterday he met with the leader of the opposition, Mariano Rajoy to discuss the Basque political situation, and yesterday evening the letter to the Spanish president from Batasuna was made public.
Today Zapatero visited San Sebastian and used his appearance in a political rally there to answer Batasuna’s letter.
He invited the political wing of the Basque terrorist group to renounce violence, and said that until it does so, negotiation is impossible. “If we are to listen to them, the noise of the bombs and guns must stop once and for all. Have the courage to condemn and reject violence” he told Batasuna leaders. Zapatero also directed part of his speech directly at the leader of Batasuna, Arnaldo Otegi, saying that he should “be brave enough to condemn and reject violence”. Zapatero said that if he did so, Otegi would see “to what extent I am capable of making an effort to achieve the peace that both Basque and all Spanish people yearn for”