Spain rejects ETA truce

SPAIN’S government yesterday rejected a ceasefire by Basque fighters ETA as totally inadequate and demanded it renounce guns and bombs forever in its battle for an independent homeland.

The government, opposition, and media were united in their deep scepticism over Sunday’s video declaration of a ceasefire in the ETA campaign, blamed for the deaths of 829 people over 42 years.

Three ETA members in berets and yellow hoods, sitting at a table against the background of ETA’s symbol of a snake curling around an axe, announced the halt to attacks in a video released on Sunday.

In the centre of the trio, a woman fighter said ETA had decided some months ago to stop offensive violent actions.

But she did not say if the ceasefire was permanent or temporary, provoking scorn among Spanish politicians who recalled that ETA abandoned a “permanent ceasefire” by bombing the car park of Madrid’s airport in December 2006, an attack that killed two people.

“ETA has to renounce violence completely, forever,” said Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.

The ETA statement failed to meet the demands of the Spanish government and even ETA’s own outlawed political wing Batasuna of “a definitive and unconditional abandonment of armed struggle,” he told Spain’s TVE public television.

“We are not going to change a dot or a comma in our anti-terrorist policy. What we want is for ETA to renounce violence.”


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