Aznar takes another step towards banning basque separatist party batasuna

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, on holiday in Minorca, said yesterday that “what had to be done, is done” as his government took another step on Saturday towards banning the Basque separatist party Batasuna, setting a date for parliament to approve a government proposal to ask the Supreme Court to outlaw the party. A controversial law was passed in June, with Batasuna in mind, which holds that political parties that support, justify, or excuse terrorism are themselves responsible and can be outlawed. A car bomb widely blamed on the armed Basque separatist group ETA killed a six-year-old girl and a middle-aged man last Sunday in the coastal resort of Santa Pola. On Friday, a warning in the name of ETA said two bombs were due to explode at Santa Pola and at the beach resort of Torrevieja. A bomb exploded in a fast food restaurant in Torrevieja, but no one was hurt. Aznar refused to make any more comments on the issue in Minorca yesterday but Interior Minister Angel Acebes said on Saturday congress would meet on August 19 to convene a session for August 26 and on August 30 “the cabinet would agree to present a suit in rigorous legal terms for the dissolution of a political party which forms part of the terrorist framework.” Spokesman for the leading socialist opposition party told reporters in Madrid: “(There are) enough legal arguments to maintain that Batasuna and ETA are the same thing, although that is a decision to be made by the judges.” Aznar discussed the ETA problem with King Juan Carlos during their meeting in Palma last Monday morning before heading to Valencia to attend the funerals of the victims of last Sunday's bomb. Security in Majorca has been stepped up significantly over the past week with ETA accused of targeting the country's tourist resorts again.

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