What is behind ETA's ceasefire announcement? (2)

09:08, September 06, 2010      

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Relations between the political and military wings of the "Izquierda Aberzale" are also thought to have broken down in recent months with the political wing increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress in any peace process while they suffer the effects of an increasingly ineffective and unpopular military campaign.

With local, regional and general elections on the horizon, a political solution seems the only option.

Reactions from Madrid, especially the PP, are likely to be lukewarm, due to memories of how ETA used its last ceasefire to build up strength and to rearm before launching another armed campaign.

The PP is certain to resist any direct talks between the Spanish government and ETA in order to earn political capital of any perceived weakness shown by the government ahead of the next general elections, which will probably be held in 2012.

Meanwhile, EA and Batasuna hope that the ceasefire will allow them to step back into the political arena, while the PNV hope that in the future a nationalist coalition can return to power in Euskadi.

Any peace process will not be easy due to the mutual distrust between ETA and Madrid.

Though there are still no details on whether or not the ceasefire is temporary or permanent, but it should be remembered that this is not the first time ETA has called a ceasefire.

The last ETA ceasefire was called in September 1998, which lasted for 14 months. But talks with the then Spanish government of Jose Maria Aznar broke down after just one meeting in Switzerland with both parties accusing the other of lacking any true interest in a lasting peace.

ETA announced an end to that ceasefire in November 1999 and the explosions of car bombs in Vitoria and Madrid at the start of 2000 saw a return to violence.

Source: Xinhua

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