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Spain's PM Rejects ETA Cease-Fire

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (file photo)
Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (file photo)

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is rejecting ETA's permanent cease-fire, saying the armed Basque separatist group's only choice is to disband.

Mr. Zapatero told Spanish television Monday that ETA's offer is no good and that it must take much more forceful and definitive steps. He said there will be no talks with ETA, and he added that, there is no doubt the violence, in time, will stop.

ETA Monday declared what it calls a permanent cease-fire that it says can be internationally verified. The group said it is firmly committed to ending armed confrontation.

But it made no mention of disbanding or giving up its weapons.

ETA has killed more than 800 people in its four-decade campaign for Basque independence in northern Spain and southern France.

Spain, the European Union and the United States all consider ETA a terrorist group.

ETA has been weakened in recent months because of a stepped-up Spanish and French police crackdown and a loss of support by its outlawed political wing, Batasuna.

Batasuna is urging ETA to give up its weapons so the party can be allowed to take part in Basque regional elections.

ETA has declared other cease-fires in the past that did not last more than a few days or several months.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.