I have never been a great fan of Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero but you have to admire his courage in announcing that his government will be sitting down with the outlawed Basque terror group, ETA, to talk peace. There have already been protests in Spain and one of the largest police unions, is calling for ETA to publicly admit that their so-called war has failed and that they are abandoning violence for good. Zapatero doesn't have a united front, politically. The opposition Partido Popular, who blamed ETA for the Madrid bomb attacks, have announced that they oppose the peace talks because they do not trust ETA. The stakes are very high and any sign that the outlawed terror group have not abandoned their campaign of violence could prove costly for Zapatero. I am convinced that the only way to bring peace to the Basque country is through dialogue, in the same way that it was the only way forward for Northern Ireland. I can understand the concerns of many Spaniards over the talks because it is like sitting down and talking with the enemy. But Zapatero is convinced that this is the only way forward and I believe that he should be given the benefit of the doubt. ETA must also show that they mean business and give tangible evidence that they are disarming. Peace in the Basque Country could become a reality but there is a long way ahead.
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