Basque separatist group ETA called a permanent ceasefire on Monday, Basque regional newspaper Gara said on its website, three months after the group announced a halt to armed struggle.
ETA, in half a century of armed struggle for an independent state in northern Spain and southwest France, has been crippled by arrests and a rise in support among Basques for peaceful methods.
"ETA has decided to declare a permanent and general cease-fire which will be verifiable by the international community," the group said in an English-language statement on www.gara.net.
"This is ETA's firm commitment toward a process to achieve a lasting resolution and towards an end to the armed confrontation," the statement added.
A spokeswoman for Spain's interior ministry said the government would comment later in the day.
If peace talks were to take place, ETA is expected to demand amnesty for its members and for some 550 prisoners.
In the statement on Monday, ETA called on the governments of Spain and France, which has helped the Spanish capture ETA members, to "end all repressive measures" against the group.
Rumours of an ETA truce circled in December, but Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba repeatedly said the government would not change its strategy on ETA because of a ceasefire.
"This truce thing doesn't work anymore," Rubalcaba told reporters in mid-December after a weekly cabinet meeting.
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said repeatedly his government will not negotiate with ETA unless the group lays down its weapons. Zapatero says ceasefire declarations are not sufficient to start talks.
AgenciesLast Mod: 10 Ocak 2011, 15:51