The International Verification Commission (IVC) has held a series of meetings in Bilbao from February 18th to February 20th 2013 to gather information on the state of the ceasefire and the end of violence in the Basque Country, and to monitor developments in these areas.
On February 18th and 19th the Commission bilaterally met with the President of the Basque Country and representatives of political and social actors in Basque society (the list of interlocutors below*). On February 20th the Commission held a plenary meeting. The Commission is grateful to all of them for their assistance and support in the carrying out of its work.
During this visit, the Commission has verified that two years after ETA’s declaration of a permanent, general and verifiable ceasefire and 16 months after its declaration of a definitive end of violence, ETA continues to fulfill its commitments. Our interlocutors in the Basque Country have informed us that assassinations, bombings, attacks, threats and extortion have ceased.
While the Commission is generally satisfied with ETA’s compliance with the ceasefire and its declaration to end violence, it continues to work on improving relevant aspects.
The Commission notes the high expectations that exist in Basque society about the need for further steps to be taken towards the consolidation of peace. We call on any and all relevant actors to seize this opportunity taking new steps and confidence building measures.
Through meetings with all our interlocutors in the Basque Country and contacts with ETA, the Commission is optimistic that these steps will be taken. Nevertheless, to guard against complacency or delay, it is vital that appropriate steps be taken now to grasp this historic opportunity. The Commission is at the disposal of all actors to help in achieving them.
The Commission would like to welcome the election of a new Basque Parliament. The Commission is confident that this newly elected institution will advance the consolidation of peace in the Basque Country. In particular, the Commission hopes that the newly created Commission for Peace and Coexistence in the Parliament will serve to further dialogue among all parties.
The IVC wishes to further develop the positive working relationships it has established in the Basque Country. The Commission will continue to work with determination and impartiality with the aim of contributing to this historic opportunity for a lasting peace in the Basque Country.
On February 20th 2013 the IVC met with the following political and social actors:
- Iñigo Urkullu (Basque Country President)
- Andoni Orutzar (EAJ-PNV)
- Joseba Aurrekoetxea (EAJ-PNV)
- Jesús Loza (PSE-EE)
- José Antonio Pastor (PSE-EE)
- Rufi Etxeberria and Urko Ayarza (Izquierda Abertzale)
- Miguel Ángel Lujua (Confebask)
- Nuria Lopez de Guerenu (Confebask)
- Xabier Anza (ELA)
- Patxi Agirrezabala (ELA)
- Ainhoa Etxainde (LAB)
- Jon Etxeberria (LAB)
- Igor Urrutikoetxea (LAB)
- Raúl Arza (UGT)
- Emilia Málaga (UGT)
- Oscar Arenas (CCOO)
- Loli Garcia (CCOO)
- Sanitago Martinez (CCOO)
- Vicario Ángel María Unzueta (Bilbao diocese, Church)
- Obispo Juan María Uriarte (invited as an individual)
The following members of the IVC took part:
- Ronnie Kasrils, former Minister of Intelligence and Deputy Defence Minister of South Africa
- Chris Maccabe, former Political Director of the Northern Ireland Office of the United Kingdom and former Director of the Prison Service in Northern Ireland
- Ram Manikkalingam, Director of Dialogue Advisory Group and Professor at Amsterdam University, and former Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka for negotiations with the Tamil Tigers
- Satish Nambiar, former Deputy Chief of the Indian Army and former Commander and Head of Mission of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia in 1992 and 1993
- Aracelly Santana, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of Mission, United Nations Mission in Nepal (UMIN) and former Director, Americas Office in the United Nations Department of Political Affairs
- Fleur Ravensbergen, Coordinator of the IVC, Assistant Director of Dialogue Advisory Group