Aznar with King Juan Carlos yesterday.

20-08-2013
Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, in Palma yesterday, slammed members of the Basque terrorist organisation, blamed for Sunday evening's car bomb in the resort of Santa Pola, as “human trash,” adding that he hopes the political wing Batasuna will be outlawed “as quickly as possible.” Aznar flew by helicopter from Minorca, where he and his family are on holiday, to Marivent Palace for the first of two summer meetings with the King. Aznar then flew on to Alicante to attend the funerals of the two bomb victims. Emerging from talks with King Juan Carlos, Aznar, his voice cracking with uncharacteristic emotion, threatened to hasten the already contemplated banning of Batasuna, which many consider ETA's political wing. “I am not prepared for us to carry on burying victims while the leaders of Batasuna, who are human trash and as responsible as ETA for these crimes, are walking freely through the streets,” he said. “The terrorists are going to pay for what they have done, they're going to pay dearly and I hope very soon,” Aznar warned. The Prime Minister spoke of his “fond and special memories” of the little holiday resort near Alicante and offered all the community his full support and that of the rest of Spain. He said this situation was “unbearably repulsive”. “Spanish democracy will not accept such defiance, it is solid and strong enough to win this battle,” he said. Asked if he would take steps to outlaw Batasuna, Aznar said: “That is something contemplated by the law and as for me I hope and wish that this can happen as soon as possible.” Aznar has taken a hard line against radical Basque separatists, invigorated by the global clampdown on terrorism in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States. That has entrenched the position of the government against even moderate Basque nationalists, such as the Basque regional government, causing concern about reprisals in the troubled region. Aznar said that, despite an intensification of Spanish navy vessels off the coast of Ceuta and Mellila over the weekend, the Spanish government maintains a “clear and strong” position. Aznar reiterated that Spain's two North African enclaves will remain Spanish and that there is nothing to discuss. “We can't spend all day, every day talking about the same thing, Spain's position will not change,” he said. Aznar's government would rather see an improvement in relations between Spain and Morocco. Despite the King of Morocco claiming that Ceuta and Mellila should be liberated and returned to his kingdom, Aznar wants to start working with Morocco in a bid to stem immigration. Only a few days ago, the bodies of 13 immigrants were washed up on the southern coast and Aznar wants to see an end to the “human tragedy.” On the home front, Aznar did not repeat his famous “Spain's going fine,” but he said that in these troubled economic times, the government has a solid plan and is sticking to it “it's already paying dividends,” he said. Aznar said that Spain's economy will grow at a rate slightly higher than the European Union average “we're keeping pace with Europe's most developed countries and next year, 280.000 new jobs will be created.” Aznar has had a tough year, his immigration, education, autonomous regional financing, political parties law, and labour reforms caused national controversy and the general strike. “This year we've introduced a lot of reforms,” Aznar said “but this political term is based on dialogue, moderation and the search for a common ground with the Spanish people.”

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