Basque ceasefire: Welcome in Ireland for ETA move
Adams welcomes historic ETA ceasefire
by EOIN Ó BROIN
An Phoblacht, 23 March 2006
Following months of behind the scenes contacts between the Spanish government
and Basque nationalists, ETA this week called a permanent ceasefire. The
statement, delivered to Basque media outlets on Wednesday, 22 March,
outlined the armed group's intention to call a ceasefire, taking effect from
Friday of this week.
In January of this year both Batasuna spokesperson Arnaldo Otegi and Spanish
Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero were making positive sounds regarding the
emergence of a fully fledged conflict resolution process in the Basque
However, in recent months the death of two ETA political prisoners, and the
subsequent legal case against Ogeti and other Basque political leaders has
left many observers concerned that the Spanish government was not
unequivocally committed to the emerging peace process.
Today's announcement, in the words of ETA, aims to give impetus to that
process in the hope that Zapatero, and all other basque and Spanish
politicians will grasp the opportunity and work to secure a lasting
resolution to the conflict.
The ceasefire announcement has been broadly welcomed in the Basque Country,
Ireland and across Europe.
Speaking on Wednesday during a press conference in Belfast, Sinn Féin
president Gerry Adams said that, "Sinn Féin has been in dialogue with all of
the Basque political parties and in particular Batasuna. I have also written
to the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero. Our objective has been to
promote conflict resolution and to assist in whatever way we can the
development of a peace process. I welcome today's news from the Basque
"ETA's announcement provides all sides to the conflict with an opportunity
of historic proportions. Today's announcement gives a considerable boost to
the development of a conflict resolution process."
Adams also called on all involved to "grasp this opportunity, and to do
everything in their power to make political progress a reality".'
"There is a particular onus and responsibility on the Spanish government to
respond positively and creatively. The Spanish government should immediately
intervene to stop the political trials against Batasuna leaders, including
Arnaldo Otegi", Adams said.
In the European Union Parliament MEPs from across the 25 member states
welcomed the announcement. The President of the Parliament Josep Borell
formally welcomed the anouncement during a mini-session of the parliament on
The statement was also wlecomed by the Irish Minister for Foreign Afairs
As An Phoblacht goes to print the Spanish government has cautiously welcomed
Speaking to An Phoblacht from the Basque Country on Wednesday evening
leading Irish republican, Seanna Walsh who read the statement announcing the
end of the IRA's campaign on 28 July last year, said that recently Basque
people had mobilised support beyond their usual base. Recent deaths in
custody of Basque activists Igor Angulo and Roberto Sainz, who both died
under suspicious circumstances while in prison, had played a role in this.
There was, he said, a broad consensus that the Government should respond
positively to the ETA announcement. There was now a "new atmosphere of
optimism in the area and the Basque leadership are determined to maintain
pressure on the Spanish Government to engage in dialogue".
Seanna Wlash said that there was an air of celebration which reminded him of
the IRA's own cessation, but the finality of the Basque announcement had
more parallels with last years 28 July statement by the IRA. There would now
be huge pressure on the Spanish Government to democratise the area he said.
ETA statement in full:
Message from Euskadi Ta Askatasuna to the Basque People.
Euskadi Ta Askatasuna has decided to declare a permanent ceasefire from
March 24th 2006.
The objective of this decision is to encourage a democratic process in
Euskal Herria in order to build a new framework in which the rights as a
people which correspond to us can be recognised and looking to the future
assuring us the possibility of the development of all political options.
At the end of this process the Basque citizens must have the word and
decision on their future.
The Spanish and French states must recognise the results of such a
democratic process, without any type of limitations. The decisions which the
Basque citizens take on our future must be respected.
We make a call to all the agents to act with responsibility, and be
conscious of the step taken by ETA.
ETA makes a call to the Spanish and French authorities to respond to this
new situation in a positive manner, leaving repression to one side.
Finally, we make a call to all the men and women of the Basque country to
get involved in this process, and to fight for the rights which as a patria
correspond to us.
ETA expresses its wish and will that the process now started reaches its
end, and that a real democratic situation is achieved for Euskal Herria,
overcoming the conflict of many long years and constructing a peace based on
We reaffirm our intention to carry on taking steps in the future in line
with this wish.
The end of conflict, here and now is possible. This is the wish and the will
Euskal Herrian, 2006 ko martxoan
Euskadi Ta Askatsasuna