ETA says solution to Basque problem is possible

ETA has sent a letter to the Basque newspaper Gara. It contains many of the contradictions and criticisms characteristic of previous Eta statements, but this one contains a message which the Spanish government may find encouraging.

The terrorist group claims that it is “possible” to find a solution to the “Basque conflict” and says offers its “total disposition” to get involved in a “democratic process, without limits and involving everyone”.

In its note, the Basque terrorists urge “Basque agents” to open up new opportunities, and they say that in order to achieve the end of the conflict “it is necessary to build a peace based on justice” achieved by “dialogue and negotiation”. The note calls for a democratic process without limits and including all involved parties to be initiated. It underlines the fact that any solution must include the self-determination of the Basque people.

A considerable part of the communication is dedicated to criticising Spain’s Socialist Government and also the Anti-terrorism pact (from which the Popular Party withdrew last month) and the PNV party which it critices for putting party interests before the interests of the Basque country.

Finally, ETA accuses the Government of “taking steps remimiscent of the darkest times under Gonzalez” (in reference to ex-President Felipe Gonzalez). The Basques also accuse the Government of applying the usual strategies based on police operations, strategies which, according to the terrorists, makes the possibility of a lasting peace more distant.

Spain’s vice-president, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega was asked to comment on the ETA communication during a press conference today.

She said repeatedly that the Government would only be prepared to make a comment on an ETA communication if it announced the commitment of the terrorist group to put an end to violence and to disappear.