Catalan parties and Government believe ETA’s announcement is “the beginning of the end”
The President of the Catalan Government, from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist coalition CiU considered the statement “an important step” and stressed that they “are hoping for the terrorist group's total break up and the total abandonment of its weapons”. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party, ERC, asked the Spanish Government to quit its “ivory tower”, “as the United Kingdom did”, and “let the Basque and the Catalan peoples decide their future”. However, the Catalan Association of Terrorist Victims has criticised ETA’s announcement and said that it only hopes for ETA’s disappearance, but other individual victims have celebrated the news. ETA has killed more than 800 people, 50 of them in Catalonia.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Basque terrorist group ETA announced the \u201Cdefinitive cessation of its armed activity\u201D with a \u201Cclear, firm and definitive purpose\u201D. The announcement was made on Thursday afternoon through a written statement and a video statement. ETA did not add any conditions, but it did not announce its break up, neither the destruction of its weapons. In addition, it did not talk about the pain caused to its victims, but only talked about the suffering of ETA members. At the end of the statement, ETA called for the Spanish and the French Governments to \u201Copen a process of direct dialogue, which has as its aim the resolution of the consequences of the conflict and thus the conclusion of the armed conflict\u201D.
The general reaction in Catalonia has been of satisfaction. The Catalan Government, with a statement by its President, and all the Catalan parties consider ETA\u2019s declaration \u201Can important step\u201D. However, they all coincide that ETA\u2019s announcement is not the final end, as now other steps are needed for the terrorist group's end. The Catalan President Artur Mas stated that he is \u201Choping for the terrorist group's total break up and the total abandonment of its weapons\u201D. The Catalan Victim Association of Terrorist Organisations criticised ETA\u2019s announcement and said it only hopes for ETA\u2019s complete end, but other individual victims have celebrated the news, such as Ernest Lluch\u2019s family. ETA has killed more than 800 people, 50 of them in Catalonia.
The Catalan President: \u201Cit is the beginning of the end\u201D
The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, who is also the leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist coalition \u2018Convergència i Unió\u2019 (CiU) said that everybody has been \u201Choping for a total break up of the terrorist group ETA and the total abandonment of its weapons\u201D. However, Mas considered the announcement to be good news. \u201CI believe that any good person has to be happy about such an important step\u201D, said the Catalan President. He also added that it is \u201Cthe beginning of the end, at the beginning of a road that has to take us to the end of this nightmare for once and for all\u201D.
The PSC: ETA\u2019s break up cannot be conditioned to any political negotiation
The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is Catalonia\u2019s main opposition party and is the party of the ruling Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), issued a press release celebrating the news. \u201CDemocracy will know how to offer the most adequate way leading towards the definitive surmounting of a conflict that has hit the Basque Country and Spain as a whole in an extraordinarily unfair and painful way\u201D. The Executive Committee of the PSC added that the terrorist group\u2019s final end and the abandonment of its weapons \u201Ccannot be conditioned to any political negotiation\u201D. In addition, the PSC stressed that the overcoming of the conflict \u201Cwill not mean forgetting about the tragedy suffered by the victims and their families, whose memory will always remain alive\u201D.
The Catalan Independence Party asks the Spanish Government for a move
The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party \u2018Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya' (ERC) asked the Spanish Government to make a move and allow the Basque and the Catalan people to decide on their own future, claiming for the right to self-determination. ERC\u2019s Spokesperson in the Catalan Parliament, Anna Simó, asked the Spanish Government \u201Cto quit its ivory tower, show the same nobility the United Kingdom had and allow the people to freely decide\u201D. Simó added that now \u201Cwith peace as the only reality within the Spanish State, it is the time for the people of Spain to have their inalienable right to self-determination\u201D.
The other parties' reaction
The Catalan branch of the People\u2019s Party (PP) did not have any official reactions and some of their members individually referred to the PP\u2019s leader for the whole of Spain, Mariano Rajoy. Rajoy considered ETA\u2019s announcement \u201Can important step\u201D but said it had to wait for their final end and the abandonment of their arms. Rajoy also stressed the huge pain ETA has caused to its victims.
The Catalan Green Socialist Party \u2018Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds\u2019 (ICV) stated that ETA\u2019s announcement is an \u201Chistorical opportunity\u201D. ICV has called Spain\u2019s main parties, the PSOE and the PP, to show that they able to face the challenges of the statement. ICV\u2019s President, Joan Herrera said that \u201Cthere are no precedents to a definitive abandonment of weapons not conditioned to anything\u201D, indicating that some kind of negotiations will be unavoidable to see ETA\u2019s final end.
The populist and anti-Catalan nationalist party Ciutadans (C\u2019s) has asked the Spanish Government not to accept ETA as a political equal. Ciutadans\u2019 President Albert Rivera considered that it was obvious the terrorist group would not continue killing \u201Cas it was trapped\u201D. Rivera said that ETA is now trying to exchange its end and abandonment of its weapons for a political short run to become Spain\u2019s and France\u2019s go between\u201D [\u2026] \u201Cof a false conflict that does not exist\u201D.
The Catalan victims are divided
ETA killed more than 800 people, 50 of them in Catalonia. The Catalan Victims Association of Terrorist Organisations (ACVOT) criticised ETA\u2019s announcement and said it only hopes for ETA\u2019s complete end, but other individual victims have celebrated the new. José Vargas, ACVOT\u2019s President, was very unhappy about ETA\u2019s declaration and said he wants \u201Ctheir break up and the abandonment of their weapons, and for the fugitives from Justice in prison, and those in jail to take condemn for their actions\u201D. \u201CIt is another statement\u201D from the terrorist group, he said. However, other Catalan victims, not linked to this particular association, celebrated the news, such as the daughter of Ernest Lluch, a former Spanish Minister from the Socialist Party killed in his own car park eleven years ago.