March 22, 2006


Basque separatists call cease-fire: After four decades of deadly violence, ETA declared a permanent truce to begin Friday. (Peter Ford, 3/23/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

On Tuesday, the Spanish parliament approved a new relationship between the central government and Catalonia, recognizing it as "a nation." Some observers suggested that the vote encouraged ETA to hope for a similar, or better, deal if it renounces violence. Last year, parliament authorized the government to hold talks with ETA, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, on the condition the group laid down its arms.

"If I was in ETA I would be optimistic" about the outcome of expected negotiations, says Florentino Portero, an analyst at the Strategic Studies Group, a think tank in Madrid. "Zapatero is a new generation of politician with a radically new way of conceiving of the state" as a confederation of sovereign regions.

All over but the formalities.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2006 6:11 PM
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