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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 00:50 GMT
In quotes: Eta ceasefire
Reaction in quotes from Spain and abroad to news that the militant separatist group Eta has declared a permanent ceasefire:

JOSE LUIS RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER

The government's position is one of caution, of prudence... After so many years of horror and terror [it] will be a long and difficult process.

MARIANO RAJOY, HEAD OF SPANISH POPULAR PARTY (OPPOSITION)

This ceasefire being announced to us now is a pause. It is not a renunciation of criminal activity. It is a reaffirmation of their desire to continue to exist. It does not repent of anything and it does not ask the victims of terrorism for forgiveness.

Again they say to us that the objective is to begin a process that will lead to the same objective as ever - the right to self-determination - and again they impose on us the same conditions as ever.

SPANISH ASSOCIATION OF VICTIMS OF TERRORISM

The only announcement that [we are] waiting to hear from Eta is that it has disbanded and that its terrorists will be handed over so they can be tried in Spain.

Until now, Eta has tried on a number of occasions to fool the public and our leaders with false proposals of a truce - during which the terrorists have taken the opportunity to reorganise their commands, rearm themselves and return to kill and to sow terror in our society.

JAVIER SOLANA, EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF

The declaration seems to me to be good news for the whole Spanish people and for all Europeans.

JUAN JOSE IBARRETXE, BASQUE REGIONAL PRESIDENT

This declaration of a permanent ceasefire by Eta is an enormous relief to all of the Basque society. It opens a window of hope that nobody should close. We all have to work definitively to open the door to the peace process that will bring a final dialogue and bring an end to violence.

FERNANDO BARRENA, SPOKESMAN FOR BATASUNA (ETA'S BANNED POLITICAL WING)

The socialist [Spanish] and UMP [French] governments must contribute to the development of a democratic process with an ongoing dialogue and political negotiation, bearing in mind the key element of respect for the Basque autonomy.

SEAN MCCORMACK, US STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN

Any decisive steps taken by Eta to walk away from the use of violence and terror should be welcomed. We're going to be in contact with the Spanish government... to get more clarity about the details of this announcement.

SPOKESMAN FOR FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC

He believes [the announcement] raises great hopes for Spain and for the fight against terrorism.

SPOKESMAN FOR UK PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR

We welcome the Eta statement and we hope to see it delivered in practice and the commitments made in their statement to be delivered.

... One thing we have learned in Northern Ireland is that it could be useful to have external support but the details have to be sorted out between the parties on the ground.

GERRY ADAMS, LEADER OF SINN FEIN (POLITICAL WING OF IRA)

Eta's announcement provides all sides to the conflict with an opportunity of historic proportions. Today's announcement gives a considerable boost to the development of a conflict resolution process.

It is incumbent on all sides to the conflict to grasp this opportunity, and to do everything in their power to make political progress a reality.




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