ETA declares permanent cease-fire

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

ETA symbol

The armed Basque separatist organisation "ETA" (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) has announced a permanent cease-fire as of Friday 24th March 2006. A video release by the organization shows three people seated at a table in front the ETA emblem, faces covered with masks and wearing Basque berets. The video was broadcast on Spanish national television and distributed to local Basque media outlets.

ETA, Western Europe's most active separatist group, seek to create an independent state covering Spain's northern Basque Country and parts of south-western France. The group broke two ceasefires in the 1990s.

For over three decades the armed organisation has waged a violent campaign for independence for the seven regions in northern Spain and south-west France that Basque separatists claim as their own. ETA, whose name stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom, originated in the 1960s as a student resistance movement bitterly opposed to General Franco's repressive military dictatorship.

ETA is considered by Spain, France, the European Union and the United States to be a terrorist organization, with more than eight hundred killings attributed to it.

A permanent end to hostilities by ETA was a condition set by the Socialist Government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for beginning negotiations with the organisation.

Edited text of ETA cease-fire statement

(Translated/edited from Spanish by Wikinews)

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) has decided to declare a permanent cease-fire from 00:00 AM on the 24 of March 2006.

Reflection of ETA

The objective of this decision is to impel democratic process in Basque Country so that by means of dialogue, negotiation and agreement, Basque can make the necessary political change.

It is necessary to construct a democratic framework for Basque Country, recognizing the rights that Basque corresponds to, and to assure the potential development all political options. At the end of that process the citizens and Basque citizens should have their right to speak and the ability to make decision on their future - enabling democratic solutions to the conflict.

ETA considers that it corresponds to all the Basque agents to develop this process and to adopt the agreements corresponding to the future of Basque Country, considering their plurality and totality. The Spanish and French States must recognize the results of this democratic process, without interference or limitation. The decision that Basque citizens we adopt for our future will have to be respected.

Call of ETA

We must assume responsibilities, to construct the democratic solutions that Basque needs. It is the moment for making decisions from openwork, and dialogue of the facts. ETA makes a call to the authorities of Spain and France to respond positively to this new situation; and so that they do not set up obstacles to the democratic process, leaving aside repression and showing the will to give a negotiated exit to the conflict.

Finally, we make a call to the citizens and Basque citizens in general and to the militants of the Abertzale Left, so that they are implied in this process.

Commitment of ETA

ETA has shown desire and willingness, from an open process until the end, and thus to obtain to a true democratic situation for Basque country, surpassing the conflict of long years and constructing a peace based on justice.

We reaffirmed commitment to take agreed steps in to that will and continuing fighting until obtaining the rights of Euskal Herria the future. The overcoming of the conflict, here and now, is possible.

That is the desire and the will of ETA. - In Euskal Herria (Basque Country), March 2006 - Euskadi Ta Askatasuna