Balearic Chief Minister, Francesc Antich, amidst yesterday's Balearic Day celebrations, said that he has every intention of complying 100 per cent with the advice from central government regards the precautions against the spread of foot-and-mouth. He said that everything has to be and will be done to ensure that the disease does not reach the Balearics. Antich admitted that the implications are extremely serious, especially for the local farming community which over the past year has been hit by the drought, the Blue Tongue virus and the current mad cow crisis. All horse races this weekend have been cancelled, including the Balearic Day trotting races at Son Pardo, one of the most important equestrian events of the year and the Balearic Day flat races. Horse racing in Ibiza and Minorca has also been postponed in accordance with orders from the Minister for Agriculture. Antich said that the postponement of the events has dealt a heavy blow to the celebrations, but he stressed the need for everybody to be sensible to ensure the Balearics remain foot-and-mouth free. Speaker of the Balearic Parliament Maximiliano Morales, in the annual Balearic Day address, urged local parliamentary groups not to restrict the political process in the Balearics by becoming obsessed with party politics and to always put the needs of the Balearics and the population first. In the wake of a tense week, plagued by talk of another split in the coalition government over the Partido Popular's controversial National Water Plan, Morales stressed the need for sensible political dialogue “in order to uncover the truth.” Morales also reminded fellow politicians past and present of the fundamental importance of dialogue over violence, saying that members of the ETA separatist movement “are so courageous, they are scared of democracy, silence is the best way to treat terrorists.” Antich praised and thanked Morales for reminding certain political parties and politicians the “reason for their existence.”

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