The IRA’s statement abandoning the armed pursuit of its objectives has been heard loud and clear in the only other European Union country with a domestic terrorist problem, Spain.
Prime Minister Zapatero called it “great news” and the opposition Popular Party also welcomed the announcement, although it warned no parallels should be drawn with ETA, the armed Basque organisation. “It is not really a comparable situation,” said Spanish Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso. “Each country has its own problems. It is logical – each has its own path to follow”. “This is magnificient news and ETA’s terrorist organisation should take note,” said Basque nationalist party spokeman Josu Erkoreka. “This decision shows that the IRA’s armed struggle can change into a peaceful political struggle, with all that implies.” This moderate’s reaction was echoed by the leader of ETA’s banned political wing Batasuna. Arnaldo Otegi said the lesson to be learned was that a peaceful resolution of the Basque conflict could only be brought about by negotiation.