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Spain cool to Basque cease-fire offer

Tue., Jan. 11, 2011

The Basque separatist group ETA declared a permanent cease-fire with Spain on Monday, saying it was committed to abandoning its armed struggle for an independent homeland in favor of “dialogue and negotiation.”

But the announcement was greeted coolly by the Spanish government, which repeated its demand that the militant organization surrender its weapons and dissolve itself instead. Madrid is mindful of the failure of such truces in the past, including a “permanent” cease-fire that ETA declared in 2006 and broke within the year.

The group’s latest move appears to be an offer to extend indefinitely a truce it first announced in September, which came in the face of ebbing public support for its decades-long campaign of violence and the arrest of many of its key members.

The possibility of a permanent truce had been rumored for weeks. But Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told reporters that ETA’s declaration did not go far enough.

“It is evident that once again today, ETA has not done what we democratic parties expected,” he said.


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