11-18 October 2011
International Conference to promote the resolution of conflict in the Basque Country.
The time has come for all of us to establish a constructive dialogue.

International Conference to promote the resolution of conflict in the Basque Country

This Monday the International Conference to promote the resolution of conflict in the Basque Country took place in Donostia. The event was of great importance and six world-renowned leaders took part.

There was great expectation to see what the final declaration would contain. At the end of the conference the six world leaders read their final declaration. Bertie Ahern, accompanied by Kofi Annan, Gerry Adams, Jonathan Powell, Pierre Joxe and Gro Harlem Brundtland, read the declaration that was directed at ETA and the Spanish and French Governments, as well as political parties

The Declaration consisted of the following five recommendations:

1.- We call upon ETA to make a public declaration of the definitive cessation of all armed action and to request talks with the governments of Spain and France to address exclusively the consequences of the conflict.

2.- If such a declaration is made we urge the governments of Spain and France to welcome it and agree to talks exclusively to deal with the consequences of the conflict.

3.- We urge that major steps be taken to promote reconciliation, recognize, compensate and assist all victims, recognize the harm that has been done and seek to heal personal and social wounds.

4.- In our experience of resolving conflicts there are often other issues that, if addressed, can assist in the attainment of lasting peace. We suggest that non violent actors and political representatives meet and discuss political and other related issues, in consultation with the citizenry, that could contribute to a new era without conflict. In our experience third party observers or facilitators help such dialogue. Here, such dialogue could also be assisted by international facilitators, if that were desired by those involved.

5.- We are willing to form a committee to follow up these recommendations.

Apart from the world leaders, representatives from the majority of the political parties (with the exception of the PP, the Spanish right-wing) and labor unions took part in the conference. They met for around three hours behind closed doors sharing their points of view about the conflict and how to resolve it. Members of the International Contact Group took part, as well as six expert organizations in conflict resolution that sponsored the event.

The conference had generated a lot of expectation and a sign of that was the large number of journalists who were accredited and who were present at the Peace House in Donostia. The international press informed of the event before it took place, which was a symptom of the expectations that have arisen. Echoes of the conference were also reflected afterwards in the world press such as the English BBC, the French newspaper Liberation, the Mexican La Jornada, the German Der Spiegel, the Irish Times and the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina.

As the newspaper Gara told it in an interesting article about the conference, “right now the ball is in everyone’s court.”

The time has come for all of us to establish a constructive dialogue.

The Abertzale Left evaluates the conclusions of the International Conference to promote the resolution of conflict in the Basque Country as being very important.

In a solemn presentation, where different generations of the Abertzale Left took part, they displayed their complete and decided support for the conclusions of the International Conference.

For the Abertzale Left, the Conference has opened the doors to a new situation where everyone can and must be winners. The conclusions of which mark the basis for strengthening a situation of democratic minimums in Euskal Herria.

We call on the political class to confront this new stage and political opportunity with everyone’s shoulder to the wheel so as to build peace and reach a definitive solution to the political dispute.

To conclude, the Abertzale Left would also like to highlight that building peace and definitive solutions is also a task for every citizen of this country.