Basque government in Spain calls ETA cease-fire meaningless

The Washington Post reports that the armed Basque separatist group ETA, under pressure from political allies to renounce violence and weakened repeatedly by the arrests of its leaders, announced another cease-fire Sunday, suggesting it might turn to a political process in its quest for an independent homeland.The new pledge from ETA, which has been fighting for an independent homeland in parts of northern Spain and southwestern France since the late 1960s, left several key questions unanswered. Besides silence on whether it will surrender its weapons, it did not say if the truce was open-ended and permanent, like one declared in 2006, or whether it would stop other activities such as extorting money from business leaders or recruiting members.

Nor was there any mention of whether the cease-fire could be monitored by international observers, as called for Friday by two Basque parties that back independence: ETA’s outlawed political wing, Batasuna, and a more moderate pro-independence party called Eusko Alkartasuna.

But the Basque regional government immediately dismissed the announcement as meaningless because ETA had not renounced violence or announced its dissolution.

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