Basque separatists ETA announce cease-fire

The Basque separatist militant group ETA declared a cease-fire in a video statement.

Madrid: The Basque separatist militant
group ETA declared a cease-fire in a video statement issued on Sunday, suggesting it might turn to a political process in its
quest for an independent homeland.

The video, which appeared in Basque newspaper Gara`s
website and was also made available to the British broadcaster
BBC, showed three masked militants making a statement in
Basque. Gara accompanied the video with a transcription of the
statement in Basque and Spanish.

There was no immediate response from Spanish
government, but the El Pais newspaper, whose editorial line is
closely aligned with the ruling Socialist party, said the
government had called for "caution".

The newspaper said on its website that Interior
Minister Alferdo Perez Rubalcaba had been in touch with the
Basque regional government to assess the statement, especially
considering that ETA`s statement did not say that the group
would give up its weapons.

"ETA makes it known that as of some months ago it took
the decision to no longer employ offensive armed actions," the
statement said, suggesting it was ready to pursue a
"democratic process" to achieve its goals.

ETA is seeking an independent Basque homeland in
northern Spain and southwestern France. It is considered a
terrorist organisation by the European Union and the US. It
has killed more than 825 people since the late 1960s.

The militant group has declared cease-fires before, but
none of them has led to the end of Europe`s last major armed


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