ETA wants new Spanish PM talks


“We don’t give any kind of value” to ETA statements, the Socialist spokesperson said on condition of anonymity.

ETA praised Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s plan to withdraw Spanish peacekeeping troops from Iraq as a “brave and valiant gesture”. ETA also said his government should have a drastic change in policy on the issue of Basque autonomy, according to an ETA statement published in the San Sebastian-based newspaper Gara, which the group customarily chooses to air its views.

Otherwise, ETA intended to “keep fighting”, the group warned.

The Socialist Party pointed out that the anti-terrorism pact signed by the Socialists with Spain’s other main political group, the Popular Party, rejects negotiating with ETA.

ETA has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in its decades-old campaign to carve an independent Basque homeland from territory straddling northern Spain and south-west France.

It was initially blamed by the outgoing government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar for the March 11 train bombings in Madrid that killed 202 people and injured more than 1,800. Police now think Osama bin Laden’s terror group al-Qaeda was behind the attacks.