11 Jan 2011

Another ceasefire statement by ETA

12:27 pm on 11 January 2011

The Basque separatist group, ETA, has declared a permanent and verifiable ceasefire, after more than 40 years of fighting for independence in northern Spain and south-west France.

But the organisation made no mention of disbanding - and the Spanish government said the announcement did not go far enough.

But the government rejected the statement, saying it contained nothing new.

The BBC reports ETA's campaign for independence for the Basque region has cost more than 800 lives since 1968 before it called a halt to armed attacks last year.

As in previous filmed statements, the video showed three Eta militants in white hoods. They said it was "time to act with historical responsibility".

However, no mention was made of disarming or dissolving the organisation - key demands of the Spanish government.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said ETA remained "as arrogant as ever".

He said the statement was not what the country had been hoping for. ETA had once again failed to declare a definitive and irreversible end to violence, he said.

In the statement, ETA said it would continue its "indefatigable struggle" for a "truly democratic situation in the Basque Country".

There was no explicit reference to the group giving up its arms, which has been a key demand of the government.

The BBC reports the government has been wary of ETA's claims since the last truce was broken by a bomb attack at Barajas airport in Madrid in December 2006.

That attack resulted in peace talks being called off.

In September last year, ETA announced an end to its armed offensive but the government said the move was too weak for negotiations to restart.