Spain Calls Basque Declaration Insufficient

"On a video released Monday, members of the Basque separatist group ETA declared a permanent ceasefire."

From Raphael Minder, the New York Times:  Spain’s interior minister said on Monday that a cease-fire declaration by the Basque separatist group ETA was not sufficient to guarantee an end to Spain’s four-decade fight against the nationalist group.

Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the interior minister, was responding to ETA’s call on Monday for “a permanent and general cease-fire which will be verifiable by the international community.” The group made its declaration in a statement posted on the Web site of the Basque newspaper Gara. “This is ETA’s firm commitment towards a process to achieve a lasting resolution and towards an end to the armed confrontation.”

In a brief televised statement, Mr. Rubalcaba said that the government would continue to demand an unconditional surrender. “ETA continues to pretend that the end of the violence has a price,” he said. “If you ask me whether I am more relaxed today than yesterday, honestly I would say yes. If you ask if this is the end, no. Is this what Spanish society expected? Clearly no. …”

Monday’s statement did not mention any surrendering of weapons — a key condition placed by the government. The group also said its cease-fire would depend on the advancement of political negotiations on Basque independence. ETA, a nationalist and separatist organization formed in 1959, has killed more than 800 people since starting a campaign in the late 1960s to establish an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France.  (photo: Reuters)

Image: reuters%201%2010%2011%20ETA%20ceasefire.jpg