The Salon II

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Euska Herria...

We all woke up to this news all over the news channels (I just picked SABC to promote African media): | Basque separatist group declares ceasefire:

"March 22, 2006, 14:30

Basque separatist group ETA today declared a permanent ceasefire in its struggle for independence from Spain with effect from Friday, Basque newspaper Gara said on its Web site. ETA, classed as a terrorist group, previously declared a full ceasefire in September 1998. The group rescinded the ceasefire in December 1999.

ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or Basque Country and Freedom) is fighting for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France. The group has killed nearly 850 people since 1968, typically using car bombs or shootings. The number of ETA killings has fallen from 23 in 2000 to three in 2003 and there have been none since then.

Spain, the United States and the European Union have listed ETA as a terrorist organisation. Jose Maria Aznar, the former Spanish prime minister, who survived an ETA attack while he was opposition leader in 1995, made eliminating the group a priority. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, his Socialist successor, and his government have taken a softer line on ETA and have publicly fostered hopes of a truce."
Well it was about time, although with ETA, we have all learned to have a great deal of healthy caution. As some analysts were stating, ETA never did get out of the mud they were put in, whe they were - unjustly - accused for the Madrid train bombing. They have therefore had to recognize that their cause would not be served militarily, and that the political process would yield much stronger results. Aside from that, there has been some doubts over the actual strength of the Basque people's support of ETA, since they earned a great deal of autonomy from the Spanish government. By deciding to give the democratic process a fair chance, ETA has probably made its best strategic decision a in a long time.


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