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SPAIN

ETA may be open to permanent truce

MADRID | Basque separatist group ETA reportedly says it is willing to declare a permanent cease-fire, verified by international observers, in a bid to settle the troubled region’s long-running conflict with the Spanish government.

The group did not specify whether it would allow observers to oversee the destruction of its stockpile of weapons — the only absolute way of guaranteeing a cessation of violence — but hinted that it was prepared to go beyond a mere declaration of a cease-fire.

It said it would act “if the conditions for such moves are created,” without specifying what those would be. No one was available to comment at the Spanish Interior Ministry on Sunday.

Two unidentified and masked ETA members said in an interview published in the Basque newspaper Gara on Sunday that the militant group was prepared to abide by the Brussels Declaration, a document issued in March by a group including four Nobel Peace Prize laureates. ETA often uses Gara as a mouthpiece.

The Brussels document calls for impartial verification of any cease-fire adopted by ETA.

The interview quoted the ETA members as saying, “ETA is willing to take that step, and also to go further, if the conditions for such moves are created.”

Three weeks ago, ETA announced its 11th cease-fire in its 40-year violent campaign for an independent homeland, but it did not mention the word permanent nor did it say it would be prepared to destroy its stockpile of arms.

UNITED KINGDOM

Northern Irish man faces terror charges

LONDON | Police in Northern Ireland say a man has been charged with terrorism offenses after police uncovered a suspected dissident Irish Republican Army weapons cache.

Officers said Sunday that the 54-year-old man was arrested Friday in the town of Newry, near the Irish border.

He is scheduled to appear in court Monday to face six charges, including preparation of terrorist acts.

The man was charged after the domestic security agency MI5 raised the threat level of attacks by dissident Irish terrorists.

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