A history of ETA ceasefires

10th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The armed Basque separatist group ETA announced Monday a permanent, verifiable ceasefire after more than 40 years of bloodshed but Spain's government rejected it as insufficient.

The group has declared ceasefires before in 1989, 1998 and 2006 but each time it eventually resumed its campaign of bombings and shootings.

JANUARY 8, 1989: ETA announced a 15-day ceasefire, which it extended twice, and talks between the group and the Spanish government began. The ceasefire came 19 months after 21 people were killed by an ETA bomb at a Barcelona supermarket, its deadliest attack.

A delegation representing the socialist government of prime minister Felipe Gonzalez and an ETA delegation held a first meeting in Algiers on January 25. Four other meetings followed on February 14 and 20 and March 14 and 22.

But the outfit made demands deemed unacceptable by the government, such as including in the talks several ETA leaders serving jail terms in France, and the talks were broken off April 4.

Eight days later ETA shot and killed a policeman in a suburb of Bilbao, the Basque financial capital and its largest city.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1998: ETA announced a ceasefire after 23 political parties and unions, including Herri Batasuna, the Basque Nationalist Party, and the Basque local communist coalition, signed the Lizarra declaration, which called for peace talks "without insurmountable conditions" in the Basque region.

The proposed talks were named the Irish Forum after similar successful peace talks in Northern Ireland.

A delegation representing the conservative prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, met with an ETA delegation in Zurich on May 19, 1999.

But the talks led to nowhere with ETA accusing the Spanish government of trying to impose restrictions on its negotiation team.

On November 28, 1999 ETA announced it would end its ceasefire in five days, claiming the government had staged a false peace process, since it had only met with the ETA once. The government replied that it had done all it could.

MARCH 22, 2006: ETA announced a "permanent ceasefire" and in June the socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero unveiled it has begun tentative peace talks with the group.

The two sides had at least one meeting in mid-December but the talks once again failed to prosper.

On December 30, 2006, ETA set off a bomb at a car park at Madrid airport, killing two men.

Three days later Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba declared the peace process "broken, liquidated, finished".

ETA officially called off its ceasefire on June 6, 2007, citing a lack of progress in its peace talks with the government and promised to defend the Basque country "with weapons and on all fronts".

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article