Basque Separatists Declare Cease-Fire

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Mar 22 15:15:52 UTC 2006

>>From the NYTimes, March 22, 2006

Basque Separatists Declare Cease-Fire


SEVILLE, Spain, March 22 -- The Basque separatist group ETA today declared
a permanent cease-fire, giving hope that decades of radicalism that cost
800 lives were coming to an end in Spain. The shadowy group sent the
message of cease-fire to a Basque radio station, and across Spain, it was
being taken at face value. The government of Prime Minister Jos Luis
Rodrguez Zapatero, like many governments before it, have made the
submission of ETA their top goal.

After the terror bombings of March 11, 2004, public revulsion has
intensified against terrorist attacks of any origin. ETA was not
responsible for the train station bombings, which killed 191 people. Last
May, Zapatero pledged to negotiate with the group if it would renounce
violence. The government said the future of ETA had grown bleak enough
that it might be persuaded to disband if offered a chance to negotiate
small concessions from Madrid. The ideas subject to negotiation included
the return of imprisoned ETA members to Basque jails.

Some 800 people have died in ETA attacks, but the group has not killed
anyone in about two years. In his two years in office, Zapatero has been
willing to consider more autonomy for parts of Spain.

Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

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