Violent Basque separatist group ETA has said the fledgling peace process in the region is in crisis. Five months after it declared a ceasefire, the armed group threatened an unspecified response if what it called attacks on Basque nationalist politicians continued. The statement is being seen as a response to the recent arrest of individuals linked to ETA. Basque regional government leader Juan Jose Ibarretxe commented: “The main question is how to advance the peace process, and find political agreements.”
Regional opposition Popular Party leader Maria Gil responded: “We have a Basque country leader who only wants to negotiate with Basque separatists. He isn’t looking after the roads or public health, all he wants to do is push forwards self-rule, the referendum on Basque independence.”
Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said in June that he would begin peace talks with ETA, but since then there has been little progress on the key issue of legalising Batasuna, the separatist party seen as the armed group’s political wing.