Hurrah! Score one for peace.
[quote=“BBC”]The Basque separatist group Eta has declared a permanent ceasefire.
The group has been fighting for independence for the Basque region of northern Spain and south-west France for nearly four decades.
It is blamed for killing more than 800 people in that time, many of them Spanish police, judges and politicians.
In a statement released to Basque media, Eta said its objective now was “to start a new democratic process in the Basque country”.
"At the end of this process, Basque citizens will be able to have a voice and the power to decide their future.
“An end to the conflict is possible today and now,” it said. “This is the hope and desire of Eta.”
The announcement said the ceasefire would begin on Friday 24 March.
It was made first on Spanish Basque radio and TV outlets, and then carried by the online version of the Basque newspaper Gara, the usual vehicle for Eta statements.
The group’s activities have been waning, with the number of bombings falling in recent years. The last deadly Eta attack was in May 2003.
In the 1970s Eta killed 100 people or more every year.
There has been a series of bombs in recent weeks but the BBC’s correspondent in Madrid, Danny Wood, says Wednesday’s announcement could be the first step towards a formal peace process between the group and the Spanish government.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said a permanent end to hostilities by Eta is a condition for any talks between the organisation and the government.
A spokeswoman for the government said it was “analysing” the statement. [/quote]