ETA announces more steps and a commitment to the “Basque Way”


Basque armed organisation ETA announced in a statement published on daily paper GARA today that it is adopting three commitments: “Make significant steps to fuel the process, without delays”; “contact the Commission to Promote Peace Process ” created by the Social Forum, and “take part in the discussions and negotiations that can be used in order to achieve a resolution and peace.” Regarding the latter, ETA details that it would “provide our point of view and to enter talks on the agenda of issues that directly affect our organization , which are among the ingredients for a comprehensive resolution”.

With this statement, ETA shows its commitment to the “Basque way” to resolve the conflict, a way that is taking shape despite of the block attempts from both the Spanish and French states. This dichotomy is highlighted by the Basque organization in an extract in which, speaking about Iñigo Urkullu’ (the Basque autonomous government president) visits to Madrid,  the organisation states that “rather than going to hear the “No” Spain is reiterating, it’s time to put into practice an action that will put the “Yes” of the Basque Country at the centre”.

ETA further more considers that there are elements to advance through this line, most notably the implementation of the Committee to Promote the Peace Process – presented on 23 December – or the possibilities of development offered by the position adopted by the Basque Political Prisoners Collective (EPPK) on December 28.

Along with this, ETA underlines the willingness of the Basque citizens, as massively expressed in the march of 11 January in Bilbo, which brought at least 135,000 people on the streets. The Basque organization believes that it “was a step of great political commitment” that “has ignited the illusion of broad sectors of Basque society” and that “has sketched which is the way forward.”

ETA estimated that the demonstration, the largest Basque political history recalls, should be held as a “turning point.” To those who argue that it was a timely response to an emergency situation (after the arrests of mediators EPPK and the veto of the original rally called by Tantaz Tanta ), ETA notes that “the emergency status has been in operation in the Basque Country through violence for many years”.

In fact, for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna the consequences of this mobilization are already evident, considering that “those who were comfortable with the process deadlock and the divisions between those in favour of the resolution have become nervous”. ETA also notes that some discourses “are being readapted” and that “more and more are increasing those who finds the Spanish government’s line is inadequate”.

Madrid and Paris

ETA makes it clear in various points of the statement that it has no expectation that states will move from their position. It recall for example that as a response to the January mobilisation for prisoners, the Partido Popular acted “with its usual arrogance, saying that not one, not two rallies were going to change the policy of the Spanish Government. Moreover, the PP leaders are announcing more attacks”. The communique is dated 29 January, therefore it was written before the death in prison, on 5 February, of Basque political prisoner Arkaitz Bellon.

The Spanish Home Office responded to ETA’s communique by saying that the only statement it is expecting from ETA is that about its dissolution and that until this happens the security forces will continue to work.

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