Madrid – Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz on Wednesday rejected the offer for "direct dialogue" floated by the Basque terrorist group ETA and he demanded that it dissolve itself unconditionally and hand over its weapons.
The minister discussed the government's position during an appearance in Parliament.
ETA announced that it had designated a delegation to engage in "direct dialogue" with the governments of Spain and France in a statement sent to the French news agency AFP.
"To hand over the weapons, you don't need dialogue," said Fernandez Diaz, who made it clear that ETA was not being allowed to place conditions on the government's actions or on "our lives."
The minister insisted that the government does not need international "verifiers" to determine if ETA is disbanding and turning in its weapons because - he said - the police and the Civil Guard are up to handling that task.
"Tell that to the leaders of ETA, tell them," the interior minister said to lawmaker Iñaki Antiguedad, of the Basque independence-minded coalition Amaiur.
He insisted that the "only communication" he is awaiting from ETA is the announcement of its unconditional dissolution and he warned that the Spanish government has not negotiated, is not negotiating and will not negotiate with the terrorist group.
ETA on Oct. 20, 2011, declared a "definitive cessation of its armed activity" after five decades during which it has murdered more than 850 people in its effort to secure the independence of Spain's Basque Country.