Spanish government and ETA meet for first time, say reports

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Spanish government and ETA meet for first time, say reports

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A permanent peace between the Basque separatist organisation ETA and the Spanish government has come closer to reality.
According to Spanish newspapers, government officials met ETA at a secret location, the first time the two sides have sat down together. ETA had announced a ceasefire in March.

At a news conference Interior Minister Javier Perez Rubalcalba would not confirm the meeting had taken place.

He told the conference the government would keep to its promise to inform parliament first.

Rubalcalba said the peace process is in its initial phases and the government is neither more or less optimistic than it was 15-days ago.

The Interior Minister gave no indication whether it would be the subject of a scheduled meeting between the Prime Minister and the opposition leader, Mariano Rajoy.

The campaign for autonomy for the Basque region has claimed more than 800 lives over four decades of violence.

Thousands have been wounded and ETA has been designated a terrorist organisation by the European Union.

In spite of this, a majority of Spanish are in favour of the peace process.

According to polls, one in seven are also supporters of Batasuna, ETA’s political ally, a party which is banned in Spain.