ETA declares a “permanent” ceasefire, in “general terms” and internationally “verifiable”
The Spanish Government states “it’s good news but not THE news” it was waiting for. The Socialist Party, the People’s Party and most of the Spanish opinion leaders insist that ETA’s only way out is through its own total disarmament and dissolution. The President of the Basque Government affirmed that he “would not allow ETA to dictate Basque Country’s future”. However, he underlined that ETA’s statement means that the terrorist group acknowledges the inevitability of its demise. CiU and other Catalan parties are optimistic but prudent.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Basque terrorist group ETA declared today at noon a \u201Cpermanent\u201D ceasefire, in \u201Cgeneral terms\u201D and \u201Cinternationally verifiable\u201D. ETA warned international media in advance and sent the written and video statements to the Basque newspaper Gara. The video statement is short and uses ETA\u2019s usual aesthetics and vocabulary. Despite not announcing its dissolution, ETA does point towards a democratic resolution of the conflict. Today\u2019s statement is as close to a definitive end of violence that ETA has ever made, yet the group has not announced its end. After broken ceasefires, fake negotiations and, in particular, more than 800 murders and decades of terror, ETA\u2019s statements have little credibility. ETA calls the Spanish and French Governments to act with \u201Chistoric responsibility\u201D; however, the Spanish establishment and the vast majority of public opinion want only one single statement: ETA\u2019s disarmament and dissolution. The Spanish Government\u2019s First Vice President and Minister for Home Affairs, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, affirmed that ETA\u2019s announcement is \u201Cgood news but not THE news\u201D. The President of the Basque Government, Patxi López, emphasised that ETA will not dictate the Basque Country\u2019s future. In Catalonia, where ETA declared a \u201Cpermanent\u201D ceasefire in February 2004 and has since never acted, reactions have been generally optimistic but prudent.
Spanish Vice President Rubalcaba insisted that the Spanish Government will not put a price on the end of violence and ETA\u2019s dissolution. The ruling Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), the opposition People\u2019s Party (PP) and many opinion leaders and organisations made statements in similar terms to those of the Spanish Government. ETA\u2019s statement, in which its dissolutiuon is not announced, was expected over the last few months. Alongside this, the reaction of the Spanish establishment has also remained in line with expectations.
The President of the Basque Country\u2019s Government, the Socialist Patxi López, declared this afternoon that ETA\u2019s statement signals the victory of Democracy and ETA\u2019s acknowledgement that its end is near and inevitable. However, in line with his party colleague Rubalcaba, López affirmed that today\u2019s statement is not the definitive statement that he would have liked to have heard. In addition, he made it clear that he will not allow ETA to dictate the Basque Country\u2019s future.
ETA asks for the right to self-determination , allowing the Basque people to decide its own future. In its statement, ETA declared that the solution to the Basque conflict will come through a \u201Cdemocratic process\u201D, which must have the Basque\u2019s people\u2019s will as the main reference. However, ETA does not completely abandon violence. The ceasefire is \u201Cpermanent\u201D and in \u201Cgeneral terms\u201D, which could mean that ETA refuses to use any kind of violence, such as intimidation, extortion or street vandalism. Nevertheless, it does not mention disarmament nor its dissolution. ETA has also added conditions to the ceasefire, including recognition of the Basque Country\u2019s entirety (including Navarra and French Basque Country) as well as its right to self-determination.
In Catalonia, the reactions have been a bit more optimistic, but remain cautious. The Catalan Minister for Home Affairs and acting spokesperson of the ruling Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Felip Puig, confessed to have \u201Ca feeling of caution and hope\u201D regarding ETA\u2019s statement. Puig said that he hopes today\u2019s statement is to be the last. In addition, Puig promised that CiU will give full political and institutional support to the moderate Basque Nationalist Party (PNB), which has been fighting against ETA over the past few decades. The Catalan Socialist Party and the Catalan People\u2019s Party have reacted along the same lines as their Madrid colleagues. The other Catalan parties have been more optimistic and have emphasised that it is a step in the right direction.