Batasuna favours ETA truce: media

3rd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Batasuna, the banned political wing of the armed Basque separatist group ETA, has urged the organisation to reach a permanent truce with international verification, Spanish media reported Friday.

The document by Batasuna and its ally, the left-leaning Basque nationalist party Eusko Alkartasuna (EA), comes at a time when ETA is reportedly set to announce a ceasefire.

The daily Basque paper El Correo said it had seen the document, which outlined a "roadmap" for "a peace process and a deepening of democracy".

The document also called for a "permanent ceasefire under international verification" in parallel with negotiations between "all" Basque parties as well as the legalisation of Batasuna, which has been banned in Spain since 2003.

A spokesman for EA interviewed by AFP confirmed the existence of the document, but refused to comment on the contents as it is currently the object of negotiations with other Basque political parties.

For several months Batasuna has been putting pressure on ETA to renounce its violence ahead of regional elections in the northern region of Spain in 2011.

The daily El Pais recently suggested that ETA could announce a ceasefire on September 27 to mark the day of the Basque soldier.

ETA had announced a "permanent ceasefire" in March 2006 but months later reversed course and in December 2006 set off a bomb at a car park at Madrid's international airport.

Spain's ruling socialist government has since been sceptical over reaching a truce. "The only thing we know is that ETA is not inclined to abandoning armed struggle", Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said.

"As for the independent left," he added, "either it ensures that ETA renounces (the armed struggle) or it must distance itself" from the organisation.

© 2010 AFP

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