Basque group ETA waits Spain and France move first to discuss truce

The armed Basque group ETA says the Spanish and French governments must make the first moves to halt violence in the region, according to Spanish news reports. ETA said it was "bored" with talk of it calling a cease-fire and said political parties should call on "Spain and France to announce a truce," adding both governments should deactivate their armed forces and stop all actions" in the Basque Country, the Basque Daily newspaper and other media cited the organization as saying in its latest internal newsletter. "Spain and France must recognize the Basque region's right to self determination," reports quoted the communiquй as saying. ETA has claimed responsibility for more than 800 killings since the late 1960s in its campaign for a Basque state, but it has not killed anyone since May 2003.

The Socialist government has offered ETA talks if it renounces violence, but the group has kept up a campaign of relatively low-level attacks. On Tuesday, the Civil Guard blamed ETA for a small device which exploded in the doorway of a post office in the small northern town of Alsasua. The blast caused no injuries and little damage.

In the same newsletter, ETA announced it had expelled six jailed, former leaders who had described the Basque separatist group as a defeated force that should abandon violence. ETA, whose name is a Basque-language acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom, also repeated its call for international organizations to play a role in resolving the conflict. The European Union, however, recently advised the armed group that it must deal with Spain if it wants a solution, reports the AP. N.U.

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