The International Verification Commission (IVC) has held a series of meetings in Bilbao on May 3rd and 4th 2012 to gather information on the state of the ceasefire and the end of violence in the Basque Country, and to monitor developments in these two areas.
On May 3rd 2012 the IVC bilaterally reconvened with representatives of political and social actors in the Basque society (list of interlocutors below*). Among others, the Commission met with the Basque Interior Minister Rodolfo Ares, and the Basque Government’s Commissioner for Memory and Coexistence, Jesús Loza. On May 4th the IVC held a plenary meeting with most of the same political and social actors.
The IVC is grateful to all of them for their assistance in the carrying out of its work. The Commission appreciates the numerous messages received highlighting the Basque society’s support for its work.
During these meetings, and since the last official visit of the IVC on January 25th and 26th 2012, the Commission has verified that ETA continues to fulfill its commitment to the end of violence.
On its third official visit, the IVC appreciates that steps are being taken to consolidate the peace in the Basque Country. To continue in this direction, the IVC encourages all the political and social actors in the Basque society, and all the other major stakeholders, to maintain a fluid dialogue.
The IVC has taken note of the Spanish Government’s new plan for the reintegration of prisoners. This is a first step, and one that we hope will have continuity in the same direction.
Through direct contacts with ETA, the IVC has received a message from the organisation stating that it is ready to engage into dialogue on a series of practical issues relevant for consolidating the process.
The IVC wishes to further develop the positive working relationships it has established in the Basque Country. The Commission will continue to work with determination and impartiality with the aim of contributing to this historic opportunity for a lasting peace in the Basque Country.
On May 3rd 2012 the IVC met with the following political and social actors from Basque society:
- Rodolfo Ares (Interior Minister, Basque Government)
- Jesús Loza (Commissioner for Memory and Coexistence, Basque Government)
- Iñigo Urkullu (PNV)
- José Antonio Pastor (PSE-EE)
- Rufi Etxeberria and Urko Ayarza (Izquierda Abertzale)
- Nuria Lopez de Guerenu (Confebask)
- Xabier Anza (ELA)
- Patxi Aguirezabala (ELA)
- Ainhoa Etxainde (LAB)
- Jon Etxeberria (LAB)
- Raúl Arza (UGT)
- Emilia Málaga (UGT)
- Loli Garcia (Comisiones Obreras)
- Juan María Uriarte (Catholic Church)
The following members of the IVC took part:
- Ronnie Kasrils, former Minister of Intelligence and Deputy Defence Minister of South Africa
- Chris MacCabe, former Political Director of the Northern Ireland Office of the United Kingdom and former Head of the Prison Service in Northern Ireland
- Ram Manikkalingam, Director of Dialogue Advisory Group and Professor at Amsterdam University, and former Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka for negotiations with the Tamil Tigers
- Satish Nambiar, former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Indian Armed Forces and former Commander and Head of Mission of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia in 1992 and 1993
- Fleur Ravensbergen, Coordinator of the IVC, Assistant Director of Dialogue Advisory Group