Spain: ETA Unlikely To Demilitarize Before 2013
Spanish experts cautioned Friday the security services against the decision announced yesterday by the Basque separatist group ETA to put an end to its armed campaign.
The ‘Euskadi ta Askatasuna’ (ETA or the Basque Homeland and Freedom) is unlikely to decide on laying down its arms before the municipal elections in the Basque region in 2013, local media quoted the unnamed experts as saying.
A decision in this regard is also expected to depend on the popularity of the left-wing Nationalist Party which is poised to have a big lead in the elections, they believe.
The separatist group could resume its armed campaign to press for the Basque independence and self-determination in the short-run given its declining popularity and internal divisions, they warned.
Both the Spanish government and the ETA leaders will have to face the challenges of the coming period including the fate of more than 700 ETA prisoners at Spanish jails.
The Spanish security services have managed to arrest 45 ETA elements in collaboration with the French authorities since the group announced ceasefire on last January 10.
Both governments of Spain and France as well as their US and European allies welcomed ETA’s renunciation of violence in the wake of the International Conference for Conflict Resolution, held in the city of San Sebastian, Basque region, on Monday.