Amid cautious hope ETA ceasefire gets underway

24th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 March 2006, SAN SEBASTIAN — A ceasefire declared by Basque separatists ETA has come into force as politicians in Spain urged the group to hand over its weapons and renounce violence for good.

24 March 2006

SAN SEBASTIAN — A ceasefire declared by Basque separatists ETA has come into force as politicians in Spain urged the group to hand over its weapons and renounce violence for good.

The permanent ceasefire, announced unexpectedly on Wednesday, came into force at midnight on Thursday, bringing hopes 38 years of violence may be at an end.

ETA described the ceasefire as 'permanent', a word it has never used before in such circumstances.

Spain cautiously welcomed the move but wants to be sure it is genuine before making a move towards starting dialogue with the terrorist group.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero plans to meet opposition parties next week to discuss what might happen next.

His Socialist government refuses to say when, or even if, it might start talking to ETA.

"ETA must give clear signals of a definitive end to violence," said Fernando Moraleda, who acts as spokesman for Zapatero.

Most Spaniards have welcomed ETA's ceasefire but fear it may yet prove to be another false dawn.

The group has announced several such truces before but has broken them all.

The right-wing conservative Popular Party, Spain's main opposition party, made four demands of ETA.

"(There must be) an unconditional handover of weapons, a definitive dissolution (of ETA), a clear renunciation of violence and intimidation and an apology to its victims," it said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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