Representatives from the Basque Socialist party have met the leaders of Batasuna, considered to be the political wing of ETA. It is the first time they have publicly held talks, and represents a siginifcant step in the fledgling peace process. Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi described the talks as “historic”. The Socialists said they wanted his followers to become “part of the solution”, rather than “part of the problem”. Spain’s ruling party has made settling the Basque question a top priority. Negotiations are on two fronts – first deciding the region’s political future, the second tackling ETA.
Some are furious at the talks – Pilar Ruiz’s son was killed by ETA. “It’s treachery, they’re traitors. My son didn’t die to be betrayed in this way,” she said. Protesters linked to families of the victims demonstrated outside the meeting. ETA declared a ceasefire in March, but has not surrendered weapons. Batasuna was banned in 2002 for its alleged ties to the violent separatists and its refusal to condemn violence.