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Europe

Spain dismisses ETA ceasefire offer as insufficient

The Spanish government has urged the Basque separatist group ETA to renounce all violence, calling its offer of an unspecified ceasefire insufficient.

hooded ETA members

ETA has not specified how long a ceasefire would last

Spain has dismissed as insufficient a ceasefire offer by the Basque separatist organization ETA, insisting that ETA had to "renounce violence completely, forever," according to Spain's Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba

"We are not going to change a dot or a comma in our antiterrorist policy," he said on Monday. What we want is for ETA to renounce violence, so long as it does not break with violence it will not be admitted into institutions," he added.

No negotiations

ETA, which is classed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, declared in a video statement Sunday that it would halt violent attacks but it did not say whether the ceasefire was permanent or temporary. The Spanish government says it would not enter into negotiations until ETA renounces violence.

ETA logo

ETA broke a previous ceasefire announced in 2006

The group, which has been fighting for an independent Basque state made up an area straddling parts of southern France and northern Spain, is responsible for killing over 850 people in a 42-year campaign.

Its last deadly attack in Spain was in July of last year, when two policemen were killed in a car bomb attack. Nearly 240 members have been arrested since 2008.

The ruling Socialist Party has slammed ETA's latest ceasefire offer as a "purely tactical move" ahead of municipal elections in 2011. ETA's political wing, Batasuna, is hoping that a ceasefire would persuade Spanish courts to lift a 2003 ban on the party.

Author: Nicole Goebel (AFP/dpa)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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