Basque Separatists Say Armed Conflict Is Over
Posted on Oct 20, 2011
After more than 40 years and 800 deaths, the Basque separatist terrorist organization ETA has “decided on the definitive cessation of its armed activity,” according to a statement published by the BBC.
The ETA had declared its intentions over the last two years to move away from violence and announced a cease-fire. The Beeb points out that the group has violated past cease-fires, but suggests that the combination of police pressure and political opportunity gives this declaration a ring of sincerity.
The ETA is calling on “the governments of Spain and France to open a process of direct dialogue which has as its aim the resolution of the consequences of the conflict and thus the conclusion of the armed conflict,” the statement says.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called the announcement “a victory for democracy, law and reason.”
It’s also proof that police work and dialogue are the best answers to terrorism. As the BBC reports, “Dozens of ETA militants, including successive leaders, have been arrested and jailed, and analysts say the group realizes its days are numbered.” The ETA cites a recent conference, featuring former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other foreign dignitaries, as the inspiration for its decision to lay down arms, saying, “We face a historic opportunity to obtain a just and democratic solution to the age-old political conflict.” —PZS
AP / Alvaro Barrientos
A banner calling for peace in Basque country is held aloft during a march after the 2009 funeral of Spanish National Policeman Eduardo Garcia Pueyes, who was killed by a car bombing in Bilbao that was blamed on the separatist group ETA.