Eta peace declaration not enough, say victims
Armed Basque separatist group Eta has declared an end to more than 40 years of armed conflict on Thursday promising an end to Western Europe’s last major armed separatist campaign. But the group did not give in to demands by the Spanish government and opposition for a total dissolution of the organization or make a mention of an eventual disarmament.
Three Eta militants dressed in black shirts with white hoods over their faces and black berets made the declaration ending the deadly campaign, which has seen the deaths of 829 people over the last four decades, in a video posted online.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, in his last weeks of power before general elections on 20 November, said Eta’s decision was a victory for democracy.
Mariano Rajoy,t he leader of the opposition Popular Party and the man widely tipped to replace Zapatero said the declaration was an important step, but called for Eta’s total dissolution.
Groups representing victims of the organization said the declaration did no go far enough saying Eta did not admit defeat so the statement was worthless.
Angeles Pedraza, president of the Association of the Victims of Terrorism, said she was pleased there was an end to violence but more needs to be done.
“ They have to give up their arms…they have to ask their victims for forgiveness for the damage they have caused and, of course, they have to turn themselves over to justice,” she told Spanish radio.
The trigger for Eta’s announcement was a ‘peace conference’ in San Sebastian, northern Spain, which included peace negotiators such as Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams.