Spain rejects peace talks with 'untrustworthy' Eta

The Spanish government yesterday rejected a new ceasefire announcement by the separatist group Eta and ruled out negotiations on an independent Basque homeland, saying the militant group had been decimated by arrests and is desperate to regroup and rearm.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, Spain's interior minister, said that Eta cannot be trusted after it broke a 2006 truce with a deadly car bombing. He said its statement on Sunday, given by three hooded militants speaking in a video, falls short of what Basque society and other Spaniards demand: that Eta renounce violence for good.

"The word truce, as the idea of a limited peace to open a process of dialogue, is dead," Mr Rubalcaba said, adding that Spain will be as tough as ever against Eta.

"The Interior Ministry will keep its anti-terrorism policy intact, absolutely intact. We are not going to change that policy one bit, not a single comma," he told Spanish National Television.

Eta has killed more than 825 people during its campaign for an independent homeland in parts of northern Spain and south-western France since the late 1960s. Its last deadly attack in Spain was in July 2009, when it killed two policemen with a car bomb. Nearly 240 of its members have been arrested since 2008. It is considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

Mr Rubalcaba said the militant group declared the truce because it is so weak it cannot stage attacks.

The ceasefire statement left several key questions unanswered. Besides silence on whether Eta will surrender its weapons, it did not say if the truce was open-ended and permanent, like the one declared in 2006 and which led to talks with the government, or whether it would halt other activities like extorting money from business leaders or recruiting members.

Nor was there any mention of whether a ceasefire could be monitored by international observers as called for last Friday by two Basque parties that back independence: Eta's outlawed political wing Batasuna and a more moderate pro-independence party called Eusko Alkartasuna.

Since late last year, divisions have widened between Eta and the political parties that support it. Jailed Eta veterans have also distanced themselves from the group, and French police have cracked down, denying militants a neighboring haven. Friday's statement marked the first time the political groups had put down in writing that they wanted Eta to work toward independence through peaceful means, rather than with violence.

Mr Rubalcaba said that Eta's breaking of the 2006 ceasefire – with a massive car bombing at Madrid airport that left two people dead – cost the group credibility among political supporters who seek Basque independence.

The minister said Eta's new tactic is to seek new negotiations and, if in a few months or a year the government still refuses, Eta will say it has no choice but to revert to bombs and bullets.

He claimed that Eta wants to impose its will, either through violence or dialogue "and the state is going to tell it time and time again 'no, no and no'."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines