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ETA calls for international verification of its ceasefire

New statement by terrorists fails to impress government

ETA has broken the silence it had kept since January 10, when it announced a "permanent, general and internationally verifiable ceasefire." In a new statement published in the Basque radical newspaper Gara, the terrorist group said it is willing to "accept an informal verification mechanism" and that "an international verification commission could be set up."

The statement comes four days after the Supreme Court struck down a bid by Sortu- a new political party born out of the ashes of Batasuna, ETA's outlawed political wing- to register in time to run in local elections on May 22. Sortu was set up by Basque pro-independence abertzale radicals who historically sympathized with ETA's goals but now say they reject its violent ways. Police reports claim both groups are still connected.

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In its latest communiqué, ETA fails to mention Sortu, leaving analysts still wondering what its view is on the abertzale's recent attempt to distance itself publicly from violence. Instead, the release makes a general call on parties, unions, social organizations and Basques as a whole to "join forces, make commitments and take new steps toward freedom."

After both Spain and France (ETA also claims parts of southern France as part of its greater Basque homeland) rejected ETA's proposal for international verification of its January ceasefire, the group now says it would settled for an "informal" verification, without specifying what it means by that. Sources at the Socialist-run Basque government described this new ETA release as being meant "for internal consumption" among its own followers. Government spokesman Ramón Jáuregui said it was time for "violence to cease forever, and nod not just a little."

ETA released a video statement, calling for international verification of the ceasefire it announced in January.
ETA released a video statement, calling for international verification of the ceasefire it announced in January.AGENCIA ATLAS
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