Sinn Fein's Adams welcomes ETA ceasefire
Top Irish republican Gerry Adams welcomed the announcement by Basque separatists ETA of a ceasefire Sunday, saying it could permanently end violence and urging Spain's government to respond positively.
Adams, president of Sinn Fein, is seen as a key figure in the Northern Ireland peace process and has held talks with Batasuna -- ETA's political wing -- on ending the violence to the Basque region.
There was a "long affinity" between Irish republicans and the Basque people, said Adams.
"This is a significant statement and has the potential to bring about a permanent end to the long-running conflict in the Basque country," he added, in comments cited by Irish state broadcaster RTE.
"It is now vital that the Spanish government respond positively and grasp the opportunity to advance a peace process presented by today's announcement and quickly establish inclusive political negotiations."
Sinn Fein was widely seen as the political wing of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), which waged a campaign of violence against British rule in Northern Ireland from the 1970s to the 1990s before the peace process started.
Sinn Fein insists the organisations are separate. The IRA decommissioned its weapons in 2005.
© 2010 AFP