The Basque terrorist group ETA have said they are prepared to take another step towards peace, following their announcement of a ceasefire two weeks ago.
At the time there was widespread scepticism that this latest ceasefire would lead anywhere.
Now the Basque newspaper Gara has published a text from the group saying the separatists are committed to the ‘Declaration of Brussels’ which calls for a complete, permanent and verifiable ceasefire.
A peace mediator central to the process was optimistic when interviewed by euronews earlier this month.
Javier Villagarcia asked: “Are we closer to the beginning of a peace process in the Basque Country?”
Brian Currin replied: “I certainly do believe that we are closer to a peace process in the Basque Country and it is not only a question of being closer to a peace process. I believe that the circumstances as such are that we are closer to a peace process in the Basque Country that will be sustainable.”
The communique also demands the legalisation of banned Basque separatist political parties.
ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths in half a century of armed struggle for an independent Basque country.
After the ceasefire announcement on September 5, the Spanish government said it would still pursue ETA fighters. And it has maintained a firm stance, saying the only communique it will accept is one that definitively abandons the armed struggle.