“it is not the first time Spain has been here”

The International Representative for west Belfast has been offering his unsolicited advice to the Spanish government on how they should respond to the latest statement by ETA.  And an Irish Times report adds

According to a Sinn Féin spokesman yesterday, Mr Adams and other senior party figures have been involved in long-running contacts with senior Basque separatist representatives in the past year or more for the purpose of helping end the conflict. He said that significant talks took place at the end of last year and earlier this year, where participants drew on the lessons of the Irish peace process.

As The Independent reports Spanish politician’s have been sceptical in response.

The Madrid-based political parties all dismissed the statement as “clearly insufficent”. Tomas Gomez, the Socialist Party general secretary, said: “We have to treat it with considerable caution. Eta have shown their true colours on countless occasions.” Gaspar Llamazares, the spokesman of the United Left front added: “They’ve fallen short. What we want is a definitive end to any armed action.”

The ceasefire comes at a point when support for nationalism as a whole is on the ebb in the Basque region which already has considerable levels of autonomy. Two years ago, for the first time in their history, the nationalists were ousted from the Basque local government by the Socialist Party, with support from the right-wing Partido Popular.

At the same time, low-level outbreaks of rioting in favour of independence in the old quarters of Bilbao and San Sebastian, which have never stopped completely throughout Spain’s 35 years of democracy, are becoming increasingly infrequent.

The BBC’s Clive Myrie relates the “cheap spy novel” tale of how he got the scoop.  And a separate BBC report provides this analysis

This new statement claims that the last few months without attacks were part of a previously undeclared ceasefire. But Spanish officials argue Eta is being squeezed out of action by security forces here and across the border.

In March, President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to flush Basque separatists out of France after a shooting there, denying them a crucial safe-haven.

Police in Spain and France have made numerous recent arrests, including men they claim were senior Eta commanders.

Alleged attacks have been foiled and co-operation with other European countries in detaining Eta suspects has improved.

So to many people, Eta’s retrospective ceasefire will look like an attempt to disguise its weakness as a desire for peace. Some will shrug it off as irrelevant; others will dismiss it as a way to regroup and re-arm.