ETA truce “insufficient” say Spanish government

Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Monday that he considered the announcement of a truce by Basque separatist movement ETA to be “insufficient.”

Speaking on the Spanish state television station RTVE, Rubalcaba questioned the motives behind the declaration that ETA made on Sunday and added that merely declaring a truce without saying whether it was temporary of permanent was virtually meaningless.

This is the fourth truce that ETA has announced in its 50-year history and the second it has called since 1998. All previous truces have ended with a return to violence and the last truce, which lasted for nine months in 2006 finished with a car bomb that killed two people at Madrid’s Barajas airport.

“If they were able to break one truce, they will be capable of reversing this technical halt,” commented Rubalcaba.

Rubalcaba believes that the recent setbacks suffered by the terrorist band, which has had 58 members arrested in Spain, France and Portugal this year, are the main reasons for the truce.

“ETA has stopped because it can’t carry on. It has done this after the dismantling of a new logistic base in Portugal and the attempt to do something in Gerona (Catalonia). It has also stopped to rebuild,” said the Minister.

“We have heard the word ‘insufficient’ from all of the political parties and that refers to two points,” he added.

Rubalcaba pointed out the political needs of the “izquierda abertzale,” which is the sector of Basque society that broadly supports ETA and which includes ETA’s political wing – Batasuna.

Batasuna is currently illegal and thus unable to stand at regional, local or national elections until it rejects ETA and terrorist violence.

“It is insufficient because the izquierda abertzale were already saying it (the truce) was going to happen,” he said.

The minister said that the truce could be a political strategy, which he rejected.

“ETA has to leave violence now and forever, that is why the declaration is insufficient,” concluded Rubalcaba after saying that the government had no intention of changing its policy towards terrorism.

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