The Prime Minister of Spain’s Basque regional government, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, has been holding talks with representatives from the outlawed Batasuna party. It is thought to be their first official meeting in four years and follows last month’s ceasefire declaration by the armed separatist group. .
Ibarrexte has met every Basque political party but the conservative Popular Party has turned down his invitation to discuss the militant group’s permanent truce. Today’s meeting only took place since Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi was freed from jail last week, but he still faces up to 15 months in prison over charges of praising terrorism. Since ETA declared its ceasefire, Ibarrexte has called on the government to give the Basque autonomous region the right to decide its future status. He is pushing for a referendum that the Madrid government’s previously rejected as illegal.