Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, secretary general of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) yesterday expressed his concern at the pardon granted to more than 1'400 persons by the Spanish Cabinet on Friday. He said that the decision was moving close to resolutions which should be passed by the judicial authorities. Zapatero was speaking at a Press conference at the closing of the meeting of the International Socialist's Mediterranean Committee held in Palma. He was accompanied by Balearic chief minister Francesc Antich, and the secretary general of the Committee, Luis Ayala. Zapatero said that the minister of justice had explained the pardons as part of a philosophy “which is new to the Popular Party and the government, and it is radically opposed to what they have maintained for years about sentences being served.” He went on to say that under no circumstances could the executive power revoke a decision of the supreme high court. He added that tomorrow (Monday) he would call for an urgent appearance in parliament of justice minister Angel Acebes and the State prosecutor. He said that he would also ask for full reports on all those who have been pardoned, to see if the government has acted objectively. Luis Ayala, for his part, said that his organisation was trying to arrange a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, to relaunch the peace process. This was one of the conclusions of the meeting of the Mediterranean Committee which also analysed questions such as cooperation for peace between Mediterranean countries, the global economy and emigration. Antich made use of the occasion to criticise José María Aznar's government for rejecting the requests from the Balearics for a special regime for the islands.


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