The Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zappatero has said he will announce the start of talks with ETA in the coming weeks.It comes two months after the armed Basque separatist group declared a permanent end to its campaign of violence. Zappatero was speaking at a meeting of his Socialist party in the Basque region. “Next month I’ll announce to all political parties the start of a process of dialogue with ETA which will end the violence,” he said. Zapatero is expected to go to parliament to explain the process before the talks begin. ETA has declared ceasefires in the past but the use of the word “permanent” has boosted hopes the conflict could finally be resolved, even though many Spanish people remain sceptical. Analysts expect talks to focus on issues such as the return of ETA prisoners, who are currently scattered around Spanish jails, to the Basque country. Basque radicals, however, want a parallel set of talks to deal with longer-term issues like independence.
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