THE POLITICS OF ETA

Congress reaches historic party agreement on path toward definitive end of ETA

UPyD and Amaiur decline to join pact

All of the parties in the Spanish parliament, with the exception of the minority UPyD and Amaiur groups, on Tuesday agreed on an historic text dealing with how to bring about the definitive end of the Basque terrorist group ETA.

In October of last year, ETA announced it was abandoning its armed struggle for an independent Basque Country, but it has yet to disband or hand over its arms.

The text, which heralds ETA’s decision to lay down its arms as the “best evidence of the victory of democracy over organized terrorism,” was not approved due to objections by the centrist UPyD, which is seeking to have the left-wing Basque abertzale group Amaiur declared illegal on the basis, it argues that it is a political front for ETA. The UPyD introduced an amendment to that effect in the text.

The document urges ETA to announce its “definitive and unconditional” disbandment and calls on the central government, and the administrations of the Basque Country and Navarre, to formally acknowledge the victims of terrorism and move to promote “social harmony,” a euphemism that refers to reintegrating ETA prisoners into society.

The broad agreement was made possible by the ruling Popular Party, which has softened its stance toward matters regarding ETA. Interior Minister Jorge Fernández has spoken of ETA after its decision to abandon violence as a political problem.

For 43 years, ETA pursued independence for the Basque Country, in which it also includes Navarre and part of France. It was responsible for the deaths of 829 people in Spain and in France.

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