Zapatero backs the Lehendakari’s "road map" to manage the new era in the Basque Country
The Lehendakari and the President of the Government met in Ajuria Enea in order to analyse the situation following the definitive cessation of terrorist violence
The Lehendakari, Patxi López, and the President of the Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, analysed the current situation in the Basque Country following the definitive cessation of violence announced by ETA on the 20th of October. They coincided in calling for "prudence" in the management of the new era that has commenced in the Basque Country and the President of the Government affirmed that the Lehendakari is evidencing "good management". Indeed, Zapatero has supported the decalogue presented by the Lehendakari in the Basque Parliament as a "road map" for this new era. "My full support for this initiative", he affirmed following a meeting of one hour with the Lehendakari in the Palace of Ajuria Enea, wherein the Lehendakari brought him up to date with the series of contacts that he is maintaining with political parties, trade unions, businesspeople and social agents within the Basque Country. The Lehendakari praised the role played by the President during his term of office in search of freedom for the Basque Country, whilst Zapatero lauded the Basque people for their resistance in the face of terrorism, without which "we would not have been able to put an end to this nightmare".
In a joint appearance, the Lehendakari and the President of the Government stressed the importance of acting prudently and without haste within the new context of freedom, whereby they leave the implementation of any initiative in this regard in the hands of the next government, to be decided in the elections on the 20th of November. "We are not going to fix 40 years of violence in this territory in ten days of emergency", the Lehendakari pointed out, convinced that all actions must be guided by the search for "unity". "Searching for unity to recover memory, for the democratic pedagogy that we require in this region to bury hatred and intolerance and unity to make progress in the new era", he added.
Mr López thanked the President of the Government for his implication in the fight against terrorism, "for his firm commitment when many insulted him and he risked all", affirming that "the Basque Country owes much to President Zapatero". "Zapatero's governments have brought the highest investment to the Basque Country and, above all, have aided us to bring peace and defeat terrorism. We are not forgetful and therefore, thank you, José Luis. We can not thank you enough for your help. In the Basque Country you will always be a great president, a friend of the Basques", he added.
For his part, the President of the Government showed his feeling of "closeness" to the Basque people, affirming that when he landed this morning in Vitoria "I felt a new atmosphere that is very deep, very moving".
The Lehendakari explained that both he and the President of the Government coincide in affirming that the defeat of terrorism "represents a victory for the State of Law and the democratic resistance of society and its institutions; for the courage of the victims; for the refusal to tolerate any form of totalitarian injustice; for the efficiency of the police forces and the judiciary; and for the determined collaboration of other countries". "ETA was the conflict, as we have verified with the silencing of the weapons," Mr López stressed, drawing attention to the fact that the victory is also "the result of policies that in governments we have applied with full collaboration, with complete unity" as "if we had attended to proposals that, hailing from one side or the other, asked us to modify anti-terrorist policy, we would have undoubtedly taken longer to finish off ETA",
With regards to the future, the Lehendakari expressed his commitment to construct it "with hope, but also with memory and setting out from memory". "We are committed to a tomorrow without vengeance, but a tomorrow wherein each and everyone assumes responsibility for what they have done or what they allowed to transpire. We are not going to allow the executioners to attempt to portray themselves as victims or allow terrorists to affirm that they had no other option available to them", he stated.