The IRA's move to start disarming has raised hopes in Spain that ETA might give up its violent 30-year campaign for Basque independence but analysts say there is little sign of a breakthrough. Tuesday's news of the Irish Republican Army's unprecedented move immediately brought calls from the Spanish government and opposition parties for ETA -- which has referred to the IRA as brothers-in-arms - to follow suit. “The news about the IRA is enormously positive and the terrorist organisation ETA will be the only group left killing and murdering in Europe,” Interior Minister Mariano Rajoy told reporters yesterday. The Spanish government has made headway in its police crackdown on ETA recently and it hopes the US-led war on terrorism in response to the September 11 attacks on the United States will further turn up the heat on the group. But mainstream Basque nationalists said yesterday there would be no progress until Madrid followed the example of dialogue shown by the British and Irish governments, and agreed to consider moves that could lead to Basque self-determination. “I very much hope that ETA and its supporters look at what (Sinn Fein leader) Gerry Adams has done...and also that the Spanish government should see that solutions have been sought via dialogue in other countries,” said Joseba Azkarraga, the head of the regional Basque government's justice department. El Pais newspaper said there was an “abyss between the hopeful developments in Northern Ireland and the blockage in Basque country.”

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