Spain downplays claims of Venezuela's links with ETA

Spain downplays claims of Venezuela's links with ETA

Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba late Tuesday downplayed earlier allegations that the Venezuelan government had links with the militant Basque separatist group ETA, dpa reported.

The move comes as part of a rapid round of tit-for-tat accusations which are threatening to derail relations between Spain and Venezuela.

There were reasons to believe detained ETA suspects Xabier Atristain and Juan Carlos Besance - who have claimed to have received weapons training in Venezuela, Rubalcaba said.

However, there was no evidence whatsoever of the Venezuelan government being involved in the training, the minister stressed.

He was commenting on allegations made by the two ETA suspects that were made public on Monday, threatening to inflame tensions between Madrid and Caracas.

Earlier, the Venezuelan ambassador to Spain had raised the possibility that Spanish police may have tortured Atristain and Besance.

"Even if we are conscious that there must not be torture, threats against loved ones, or compensation ... for (them) to speak the way they did, Venezuela has serious doubts as to whether these statements ... were totally voluntary," Isaias Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez later denied having accused Spain of torture or bribes. The conservative opposition People's Party called on Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government to withdraw the ambassador's credentials.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega welcomed the "very clear and cooperative" comments by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez denied on Monday that Caracas had contacts with ETA, describing such claims as a "farce" and as part of a "permanent conspiracy" against the Venezuelan government.

The Foreign Ministry in Caracas also issued a statement describing Atristain and Besance as "criminals" who were trying to obtain judicial benefits by accusing Venezuela.

Caracas had promised to investigate the allegations made by the two, Rubalcaba said.

Atristain and Besance were detained in the Basque region last Wednesday.

They told interrogators they had travelled to Venezuela to receive arms training from other ETA members as well as Venezuelan citizens between July and August 2008, judge Ismael Moreno said in a court document.

Besance and Atristain said one of the teachers was Arturo Cubillas, an official with the Chavez administration who is believed to be the ETA representative for Venezuela and nearby countries.

ETA appeared to have sought refuge in Venezuela after Spain's increasing police cooperation with France made it more difficult for the group to operate in the neighbouring country, Rubalcaba said.

Increasing evidence has also emerged of cooperation between ETA and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) this year, after Spanish judge Eloy Velasco charged 13 suspected members of the two armed groups with crimes including plans to kill high-profile Colombians in Spain.

The 13 include Cubillas. Velasco accused Venezuela of protecting an alliance between ETA and FARC.

Venezuela is thought to have about 60 former or current ETA members, according to a figure quoted by the daily El Pais. However, Caracas has not complied with Spanish extradition requests, the daily said.

Rodriguez said Interpol had not tried to detain Cubillas. However, Cubillas could not be extradited to Spain, because he had Venezuelan nationality, the ambassador said.

The Spanish government has vowed to maintain police pressure on ETA, despite the ceasefire declared by the group on September 5.

ETA, which has killed about 850 people since 1968 in its campaign for a sovereign Basque state, is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.

Twenty-three more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day
Twenty-three more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day
Turkmenistan increases gas exports to China
Turkmenistan increases gas exports to China
Turkmenistan increases imports of wheat flour from EAEU countries
Turkmenistan increases imports of wheat flour from EAEU countries
Loading Bars
Latest
Georgia sees increase in remittances
Georgia reveals current account deficit
Public catering turnover in Baku continues to decline
Call from Members of the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre to the United Nations Security Council to Support the UN Secretary-General’s Urgent Call for an Immediate Global Ceasefire amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
High-Level International Meeting between NGIC and Chinese institutions discusses evolving world order following COVID-19 pandemic
President Ilham Aliyev receives credentials of incoming Pakistani ambassador (PHOTO)
Georgian tea export to Turkmenistan drops
Criminal case initiated on shrapnel wound of resident of Jojug Marjanli
Azerbaijani Ombudsman investigating civilian casualties from new Armenian aggression (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani armed forces destroy two more Armenian tanks (VIDEO)
International Airport commissioned in Kazakhstan’s Turkestan
Defense Ministry: No F-16 fighters in arsenal of Azerbaijan Air Force
Azerbaijani MFA: Azerbaijan carried out counter-offensive measures within its internationally recognized borders
Uzbek region prepares for stable energy supply
Azerbaijani currency rates for Sept. 29
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry: No liberated lands lost
Iranian manufacturers lose billions of dollars due to mandatory car pricing
Former Kyrgyz PM: Nobody has right to ignore UNSC resolutions on Karabakh conflict
Iran, Qatar discuss electricity exchange
Iranian currency rates for September 29
Price of machine made carpets increase in Iran
Turkmenistan takes citizens out of Belarus on another charter flight amid COVID-19
Global oil & gas market demand for large-diameter offshore pipeline to drop
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for September 29
Erdogan thanks political parties in Turkish parliament for support of Azerbaijan
Unable to cope with Azerbaijani army, Armenian armed forces shell our settlements, civilian targets - Interior Ministry (PHOTO)
Phone talk held between speaker of Azerbaijan's Parliament, OSCE PA president
Mustafa Shentop: Turkey supports Azerbaijan with all its might
Brazil reports over 13,150 new cases of COVID-19 over the past day
Azerbaijani FM informs Ukrainian counterpart of Armenia’s latest military provocations
Iran to close down businesses due to rise in COVID-19 cases
Azerbaijani Army’s offensive operation to liberate Fizuli city continues
Defense Ministry: Territory of Dashkesan district is under fire from Armenian territory
Defense Ministry: Intense fighting continued during night (VIDEO)
Armenia reports death of 84 more servicemen
Georgia reveals volume of banking sector external debt
Canadian, British FMs call for immediate end of hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh
Turkish, UK leaders discuss situation in Nagorno-Karabakh
Kazakhstan adds almost 60 new COVID-19 cases
Global COVID-19 deaths surpass 1 million - Johns Hopkins University
Chinese mainland reports no new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases
Musk plans IPO for SpaceX's Starlink business
Israel reports 2,239 new COVID-19 cases, 233,265 in total
13 dead, 21 injured in bus crash in SE Mexico
EU launches action plan for smarter, efficient customs
Canada's Ontario reports record number of daily COVID-19 cases
Ukraine allows entry for foreigners
UK records another 4,044 coronavirus cases
Twenty-three more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day
Secretary General of TURKPA concerned about exacerbation of situation around Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijani MFS meets with newly-appointed Pakistani ambassador (PHOTO)
Defense Ministry: Information about downed Azerbaijani military plane is lie
UAE reports 626 new COVID-19 cases, 92,095 in total
Georgia reveals volume of gross external debt
New U.S. COVID-19 cases rise in 27 states for two straight weeks
Daily virus recoveries surpass new cases in Turkey
Kazakhstan and Sweden reaffirm readiness to further strengthen coop in culture, education
Speaker of Azerbaijani Parliament, Chairman of Pakistani Senate hold phone conversation
President Ilham Aliyev, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres meet through videoconferencing
Azerbaijani MFA: Statement of Cyprus MFA one-sided, biased
Two brothers killed in Terter region as result of shelling from Armenian armed forces
UNSC to hold emergency meeting over Nagorno Karabakh conflict escalation
Armenian major general, two colonels killed
First footage from liberated Talysh heights (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan decreases exports to Bulgaria
Iran unveils details of exports from Isfahan Province
Georgia reveals volume of processed grapes
Azerbaijani interior ministry issues statement on curfew across country
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale September 29
Azerbaijan's Goranboy district under fire from Armenian armed forces
Azerbaijan outlines curfew conditions in cities, districts
PACE extremely concerned by military hostilities between Armenia, Azerbaijan
Georgian expert: Azerbaijan beginning to restore its territorial integrity
Review of net international investment position of Georgia
Matviyenko: Situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region fraught with full-scale military conflict
Georgia reveals volume of foreign debt by countries
Money supply in Azerbaijan shows year-on-year increase
OIC calls for immediate withdrawal of Armenian army from occupied Azerbaijani lands
Kazakhstan's monetary base value surges
SCO extremely concerned about exacerbation of situation around Karabakh conflict
Prime Minister of Georgia to pay official visit to Brussels
Iran announces balance of bank loans
South Korea becomes leading furniture exporter to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan receives EU financing to combat COVID-19
Azerbaijan can't endlessly conduct meaningless negotiations - embassy in Russia
Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to rise in Iran
Quarantine regime extended in Azerbaijan
Ukrainian MP: Policy of Armenian authorities don't bring peace in region closer
Dollar exchange rate to Uzbek soum revealed
Turkmenistan increases gas exports to China
Azerbaijani State Service: Many volunteers appeal to participate in battles
Iran talks details of exporting mining materials
Armenian Ambassador: Yerevan working out plans to evacuate population from Karabakh
Azerbaijan confirms 70 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry: Armenian army experiencing lack of food, meds
Number of tractors delivered to farmers in Iran announced
Azerbaijani ethnic communities make joint statement
Azerbaijan increases imports of Italian goods
Armenian artillery units in Agdere direction of front line hit (VIDEO)
Georgian expert: Underestimation of Nagorno-Karabakh issue can lead to most dangerous consequences for Armenia
All news