ETA has declared, through the newspapers Gara and Berria, a permanent halt to armed conflict and has appealed to the Spanish and French to «open a direct dialogue» to resolve «the consequences of conflict».
The band, which in the statement calls itself thes «Basque revolutionary socialist organization for national liberation», said that the International Peace Conference held in the Basque Country this week had been «an initiative of great political significance» and the statement agreed at the meeting » put together the ingredients for a comprehensive solution to the conflict and has the support of broad sectors of Basque society and the international community. «
«In Euskal Herria is opening a new political period. We have been given a historic opportunity to offer a just and democratic solution to the secular political conflict » the statement read, and «instead of the former violence and repression, dialogue and agreement should characterize the new cycle».
The statement when on to say that «it is time to look ahead with hope and to act with responsibility and courage.» To this end ETA had decided to call for a «permanent halt to armed activity,» and call on the Governments of Spain and France to open «a direct dialogue process aimed at resolving the consequences of the conflict and overcoming the armed confrontation»
Political reaction to the ETA permanent ceasefire
A sombre and weary-looking José Luis Zapatero gave a press conference shortly after ETA’s announcement in which he expressed his satisfaction, and said Spain would now have a democracy without violence, but not without memory (referring to the victims of terrorist attacks). He stressed the role of the police, detectives and civil guards and also acknowledged the support of the French Government in the fight against ETA.
Mariano Rajoy, leader of the opposition PP party and according to all political surveys, clear winner in the Spanish elections next month, said it was good news for Spain and a credit to Spanish civil society. He also underlined the fact that the announcement had come without any policital concessions having been made to the terrorists.
Video of ETA’s ceasefire statement