Responding to the declaration published by the Abertzale Left marking the 10th anniversary of the historic Aiete international conference in the Basque Country, Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has said:
“Ten years ago the Aiete conference created a watershed moment in the development of the Basque peace process. It underpinned the decision by ETA to end its armed campaign, stand down its military structures, and put its weapons beyond use.
“Today’s declaration by the Abertzale Left marking that momentous event reaffirms the unequivocal commitment of the pro-independence movement to the Basque peace process and the achievement of reconciliation and healing.
“Courageous initiatives have been taken by the entire Abertzale Left to create the conditions for permanent peace and democracy in the Basque Country.
“The Spanish government has not engaged with these opportunities. That is a political failure.
“Basque political prisoners continue to be held in detention. They should be allowed to rejoin their families and come home.
“The root causes of conflict have still to be comprehensively addressed and resolved. The Spanish government should now engage in sustained and genuine negotiations on the future of the Basque Country.
“The absence of a national democratic political settlement in the Basque Country is a European issue. The EU should now play a central role in helping to achieve that outcome.”