Outlawed ETA group create new party
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The outlawed political wing of Spain's armed Basque separatist fighters ETA has announced the creation of a new party that opposes violence and intends to stand in elections. The outlawed party has previously said it is against violence without actually condemning the group's violent past. The new principles are enshrined in the new statutes of the party.
Batasuna plans to present the new statutes to Spain's interior ministry later in the week. It wants to contest local elections in May. The Spanish government has been sceptical about Batasuna's conversion. It wants the group to convince ETA to surrender its arms forever and without conditions,
Batasuna has been ruled illegal since 2003 because of its links to ETA whose battle for an independent homeland has been blamed for 829 deaths over the past 40 years.
Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been careful in his dealings with the group after his attempt to negotiate with ETA five years. ETA announced a permanent ceasefire in March 2006, but nine months later exploded a bomb at Madrid-Barajas airport, killing two men.
On 10 January, ETA declared a 'permanent and general ceasefire' to be verified by the global community.
This was received with scepticism over its faliure of any mention of disarming.
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