ETA political wing says terrorists 'to give up armed struggle'
10 November 2004, MADRID-The leader of the banned political wing of Basque terrorist group ETA has said he was confident the organization was ready to "silence its arms".
10 November 2004
MADRID-The leader of the banned political wing of Basque terrorist group ETA has said he was confident the organization was ready to "silence its arms".
Arnaldo Otegi, former spokesman for a now-banned Basque independence party, said his party, Batasuna, will issue a statement on Sunday expressing its commitment to peace in the Basque region.
Two weeks ago, Batasuna announced that it would soon submit a proposal for Basque self-determination as an alternative to the Ibarretxe Plan, which was presented last year by the president of the region's "moderate nationalist" government, Juan Jose Ibarretxe.
The more radical Batasuna has branded Ibarretxe's plan as "subterfuge without a future" and "a harsh deceit."
The Ibarretxe Plan proposes creating a Basque region "freely associated with the Spanish state" and whose citizens would be classified as Basque nationals while also remaining Spanish citizens.
The plan also calls for giving the Basque regional government additional powers, such as the right to call referendums - which could pave the way for a future vote on independence - and to create a regional judiciary system.
Otegi also referred to comments by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who said last Saturday that ETA "has no other option but to silence its arms."
The prime minister also said those who "have remained silent about arms will only speak in (state) institutions when they condemn the use of violence."
"We are absolutely convinced that ETA is entirely willing to silence its arms," said Otegi, who also called on Zapatero to "abandon dynamics of confrontation" and "respect what the Basques are saying."
The Supreme Court banned Batasuna - considered ETA's political wing - in March 2003, saying it supported the separatist group's bloody campaign to create an independent Basque nation in parts of northern Spain and southern France.
Meanwhile, a judge ordered an ETA suspect to be held in custody indefinitely on Tuesday.
Sergio Regueiro Martínez, 24, who was arrested in Bilbao last Thursday, appeared before the supreme court in Madrid.
Judge Fernando Andreu ordered Martinez to be held in custody indefinitely under terrorist legislation.
Martinez denied any involvement in the Basque separatist organisation when he appeared in court.
But he is suspected of being part of ETA's logistical arm.
Martinez also claimed in court that he had been tortured during his time in custody.
Spanish anti-terrorist police have arrested 13 ETA suspects since Saturday, five of whom have been held in custody indefinitely, others released on bail.
Six ETA members serving jail terms called last week for an end to the armed struggle because it was "not serving their purposes".
The move follows a series of key arrests of ETA members, including of the group's political leader, which have damaged the organisation badly.
ETA has killed more than 800 people since taking up arms in the late 1960s
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news