ETA “planning gradual disarmament,” say ‘abertzale’ sources

Basque premier urges government to respond positively to terrorist organization’s statement

ETA is paving the way for a gradual disarmament process under international supervision. This, at least, is the interpretation being applied by the Basque abertzale separatist left to a statement by the Basque terrorist group published Saturday in the radical newspaper Gara.

Abertzale sources said that a willingness to begin disarming is the real meaning behind the rather vague phrase used by ETA in the statement that referred to "significant contributions to feed the peace process, without delay" which began to circulate on Friday evening.

The Popular Party government of Mariano Rajoy has made no concessions to ETA, which has stuck to its “definitive” ceasefire announced in the fall of 2011. Rajoy has insisted that ETA must disarm and disband.

Meanwhile, Basque regional premier Iñigo Urkullu asked Prime Minister Rajoy to be receptive to this new attitude, and told him that ETA prisoners will soon be requesting benefits on an individual basis. This is a result of a December 28 statement in which ETA, for the first time, publicly accepted the legality of the prison system, rather than rejecting it and demanding a blanket amnesty, as it has traditionally told its members to do.

On January 11, for the first time, Urkullu's mainstream nationalist PNV officially joined pro-ETA radicals in a street demonstration, and he has allegedly also asked Rajoy to accept ETA's demand to bring its prisoners to Basque jails.

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