“The prize of going down in history as the government that brought about the end of Eta must be tempting”

The Irish TimesPaddy Woodworth reports on the latest developments following ETA’s declaration of a “permanent, general, and internationally verifiable” ceasefire.  From the Irish Times report

A document leaked to the Spanish newspaper El País at the weekend appears to confirm that Eta is still locked into the dogma that “armed struggle” will remain an essential element in the pursuit of Basque independence.

According to the paper, a resolution passed by the group, following an internal debate after its initial ceasefire declaration last September, has restated its core value that “a political-military strategy is not open to question”. This statement flies in the face of unequivocal commitments to an exclusively unarmed strategy by Batasuna leaders.

One cannot rule out the possibility that the document has been forged as a black propaganda weapon by elements hostile to any settlement. But the report was written by a Basque journalist of great experience and integrity, José Luis Barbería.

Furthermore, if this is Eta’s position, it would explain the absence of a key word from last week’s declaration. That word is “unilateral”, and it is taken, both by the Spanish government and by Batasuna, to mean that Eta would be abandoning violence without any preconditions whatsoever. Its omission, three months after Batasuna had explicitly called on Eta to include it, can hardly be accidental.

Last week Batasuna struggled hard to read the word into the document, insisting that it was a “historic step forward” and the “end of the end of Eta”. But the word is simply not there.