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Posts Tagged ‘ETA’

Spain rejects ETA ceasefire

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:09 am

Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has rejected a permanent ceasefire declaration from armed Basque separatists ETA, saying he wants nothing less than their dissolution.

Zapatero was responding to the first unilateral declaration of a permanent ceasefire in ETA’s campaign of bombings and shootings for a homeland independent of Spain, which has claimed the lives of 829 people.

“The only thing we are waiting for from ETA is a statement on its definitive dissolution,” he told Antena 3 television, ruling out dialogue and saying ETA’s only choice was to disarm and respect the law.

Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (pictured) has rejected a permanent ceasefire declaration from armed Basque separatists ETA, saying he wants nothing less than their dissolution

Achieving an end to ETA’s violence would be a costly and difficult process, Zapatero said.

“We are without any doubt on the horizon of seeing that end to violence but it will take time,” he added.

“We must remain united, with strength and intelligence and defending the democratic state. That way we will achieve it. I have no doubt.”

ETA’s statement earlier Monday had talked of a ceasefire, but there was no promise to disband or disarm.

“ETA has decided to declare a permanent and general ceasefire which will be verifiable by the international community,” the group said in a video declaration.

“This is ETA’s firm commitment towards a process to achieve a lasting resolution and towards an end to the armed confrontation.”

The video showed three ETA members in white hoods and black berets, sitting in front of a table and reading the statement aloud in the Basque and Spanish languages.

They called on Spain and France to end “repressive measures” and abandon their attitude of “denial” towards the Basque Country; and they urged Basque people to agree on a future with independence as a possibility.

Jose Marco, vice-president of AVT, an association of victims of ETA attacks, dismissed the offer as “more of the same”.

The Basque Country’s interior minister Rodolfo Ares said the statement was a step in the right direction, but was “insufficient, because ETA has not decided to abandon terrorist activities”.

ETA announced a “permanent ceasefire” in March 2006 within the framework of negotiations with Madrid. But nine months later, it set off a bomb in the car park of Madrid-Barajas airport, killing two men.

Analyst Gorka Landaburu Illarramendi, director of news weekly Cambio 16 and victim of an ETA parcel bomb in 2001 that blew off several of his fingers, acknowledged that the latest statement was “an important step”.

But he added: “It is not the definitive step. And the hope of the great majority of the Basque, even Spanish, people is that this organisation dissolves itself and disappears from life.”

ETA released a series of declarations in September last year proposing an end to violence and calling for international mediation.

But the government dismissed them, insisting on a definitive, verifiable and unconditional ceasefire.

Spanish authorities believe ETA has been severely weakened after Spanish security forces, helped by other countries, particularly France, captured its leaders in a series of raids. There has been no attack on Spanish soil since August 2009.

And ETA has also come under severe pressure from within.

The group’s political wing, Batasuna, called on ETA to declare a permanent, verifiable ceasefire in an effort to get a ban imposed on its own participation in polls lifted so it can take part in municipal elections in May.

Batasuna was ruled illegal in 2003 because of its links with ETA. Zapatero made it clear to Batasuna that either ETA abandoned the armed struggle or Batasuna repudiated ETA if it wanted to take part in the election.

ETA was formed on July 31, 1959 during the dictatorship of general Francisco Franco by a group of Basque nationalist students.

On June 7, 1968, ETA shot and killed the police chief of the Basque coastal city of San Sebastian in the first deadly attack for which it claimed responsibility.

Source: SGGP

ETA reaffirms commitment to violence

In World on September 27, 2009 at 4:24 pm

The Basque separatist group ETA Sunday reaffirmed its use of violence to achieve its aims, after completing a period of “internal reflection,” but said it remained open to a political solution.

“We reaffirm our commitment to continue with arms in our hands while our enemies opt for repression and denial,” ETA said in a statement released in the pro-independence Basque newspaper Gara.

ETA, which marked its 50th anniversary in July, is blamed for the deaths of 828 people in its campaign for an independent Basque homeland in parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.

“But at the same time we say that ETA’s desire has always been to find a political solution to the political conflict”, the statement said, noting the organisation’s “desire and total readiness to take that path.”

A man (C) is pushed by a member of the Basque regional police in the northern Spanish Basque city of Mondragon.

ETA said it had reached the conclusions after completing “a process of internal reflection,” Gara reported.

The group had warned last May that it was planning a new and “effective political-armed strategy” after a period of “reflection” this summer and which “leaves open the possibility of dialogue and negotiation.”

In mid-2007 ETA called off a 15-month-old truce following a deadlock in tentative peace talks with the Spain’s central government in Madrid.

Since then Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist government has taken a hard line, repeatedly ruling out new negotiations, while a string of operations by Spanish and French police have weakened ETA’s leadership.

In its statement in Gara, ETA also confirmed that it was not behind another statement attributed to it by an independent Basque newspaper Berria and released on Saturday.

Source: SGGP