Silvia Casale, representing the International Contact Group, was in charge of revealing to the media the names of the six international personalities who will participate in the closing act of the International Conference to Promote the Resolution of the Conflict in the Basque Country this coming Monday October 17th at the Peace House in Donostia-San Sebastian. The international leaders who be present are:
Kofi Annan. Ex Secretary General of the United Nations.
Gro Harlem Bruntland. Ex Prime Minister of Norway and a member of “the Elders” (a group of pro-peace international figures created by Nelson Mandela.)
Bertie Ahern. Ex Prime Minister of Ireland.
Pierre Joxe. Ex Defense Minister and Interior Minister of the French Republic, former president of the Socialist Group in the National Assembly.
Gerry Adams. Leader of Sinn Fein.
Jonathan Powell will attend to take the place of, and represent, Tony Blair who could not attend due to a previous commitment in the Middle East.
Silvia Casale stated that all of the “have in common their experience, knowledge and direct implication in Peace Processes and the transformation of conflicts”. She also pointed out that “all of them can enrich the efforts that governments, institutions, political parties and social entities are developing so as to achieve political normalization.”
In the name of the International Contact Group, Silvia Casale expressed her desire for “the celebration of the Interational Conference to Promote the Resolution of the Conflict in the Basque Country to be an even more significant advance, a new contribution from the international community at this time where Basque society has regained hope.”
She also stated that “the entities and groups who are promoting this International Conference to Promote the Resolution of the Conflict in the Basque Country are her representing the international community that supports a peace process in a humble and respectful manner, to encourage and help together, that you can achieve a long desired political normalization.”
Paul Rios, the coordinator of Lokarri, gave some details about the conference. He said that the international personalities plan on arriving at the Peace House on Monday the 17th at noon. “At around 2pm”, according to Rios, “the encounter with political parties and labor unions who have confirmed their existence will begin. We plan on finishing at 5pm, when the international personalities will make their reflections known.”
Paul Rios expressed his gratitude to the political parties and labor unions for their collaboration in response to the request this week for them to send in their contributions, reflections, ideas and proposals for the Conference so that the promoters of the Conference as well as the international personalities could have knowledge of each political party and labor union’s posture.
The following have confirmed their assistance: PNV, PSE, Ezker Abertzalea, Aralar, Eusko Alkartasuna, Ezker Batua, Alternitiba, Geroa Bai, Izquierda-Ezkerra, ELA, CCOO, LAB, UGT, Abertzaleen Batasuna, CFDT and representatives of the UMP, PSF and Modem. Paul Rios also made a reference to the political parties who have declined to participate saying “we can only show our respect for their decision and our intention of sharing with them the content of what comes out of the International Conference.”
Finally, he announced that on Sunday some meetings will be held with members of the International Contact Group and individuals and collectives from Civil Society. The objective of the foundations and entities that are promoting the International Conference in these meetings is to “open channels so that the reflections and contributions from the citizenry can also enrich the contents of this International Conference.”