ETA ‘in talks over a ceasefire’
6 September 2004
BILBAO – A leading moderate Basque politician claimed Monday the Spanish government is holding secret talks with ETA over a possible ceasefire.
Xabier Arzalluz, former ex-president of the PNV, the Basque Nationalist Party, said the Socialist government had made offers to ETA and its banned political wing, Batasuna, of a release of prisoners in exchange for an end to more than 30 years of bloodshed.
In an interview with radio station Radio Euskadi, Arzalluz claimed to have information about the secret talks between the government and the terrorist group.
He said the talks were still underway.
Arzalluz said Batasuna had always stipulated releasing ETA prisoners would be key to any truce.
However, he said they were not negotiating but “talking”.
Arzalluz said ETA would stipulate that it would give up its armed struggle only if it won the right to self-determination for the Basque Country.
The Interior Ministry strongly denied the claim.
ETA has killed more than 800 people in a terrorist campaign which has lasted 36 years.
Last month, it carried out a series of nine bomb attacks on tourist targets in northern Spain in which five people were injured but no-one was killed.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news