Spain: Spanish press doesn’t buy ETA ceasefire

11 January 2011
Presseurop
Presseurop

ETA’s announcement of "a permanent and general cease-fire which will be verifiable by the international community", demonstrating a "firm commitment towards a process to achieve a lasting resolution and towards an end to armed confrontation", has met with scepticism in the Spanish press. El País editorialises that the declared truce is “less than the minimum" required for it to be at all credible. The Basque terrorist organisation’s declaration falls short of the government’s demands, namely a unilateral and unconditional cessation of hostilities. “It does not contain any indication that this a step towards a definitive laying down of arms.” On the contrary, “the group continues to charge a political price for a relatively unspecified stop to the violence”: namely Basque self-determination and the incorporation of the adjacent Navarre region into the Basque Country.

Along similar lines, Basque dailyEl Correo expresses its “relief” for “the thousands of threatened individuals, who can now face the days ahead more calmly”, but stresses that “ETA has announced a ceasefire, not its disappearance”. "The problem is that the communiqué is not satisfactory in terms of the goal of a definitive end to the terrorist threat,” the Bilboa daily complains, falling as it does far short of the demands laid down by the courts for lifting the ban on the left-wing abertzale (Basque for “patriot”) separatist parties, including Batasuna, ETA’s political wing.

Leading with the portraits of 12 ETA victims since its last ceasefire of 2006/2007 ("12 reasons not to believe ETA") Madrid dailyABC is likewise sceptical, opining that "ETA keeps trotting out its usual arguments”, the same ones that led the Spanish government to enter into "disgraceful negotiations" in 2005-2007. ABC describes ETA’s gesture as a “mere smokescreen” put up to enable the left-wing separatists to take part in the upcoming May elections. Público, for its part,argues that ETA’s “political demands”, which amount to a "political price exacted by the gang for it to lay down its arms”, are superfluous, and the paper regrets that “two words are missing in the communiqué: definitive and irreversible".