The IVC was created on the 28th of September 2011. The full IVC has reconvened for the second time in Bilbao on the 25th and the 26th of January 2012. In the intervening period, individual members of the IVC have visited the Basque Country to ascertain and monitor the situation.
During that past few days the IVC met with the following relevant political and social agents from Basque society –political parties (PSE-EE, PNV, abertzale left political parties), trade unions (UGT, CCOO, ELA, LAB), business associations (Confebask), representatives of the Church and relevant authorities of the Basque country. At these meeting the IVC has been informed that all assassinations, bombings, attacks, threats and extortion have ceased since the ETA declared a ceasefire on the 8th of January 2011 and a definitive end of violence on the 20th of October of 2011.
The IVC considers that ETA’s ceasefire and the end of violence is part of an irreversible process and that ETA has no intention of committing or organizing acts of terrorism or violence in the future.
However, ETA remains a clandestine and armed organisation. As such, it continues to commit illegal acts such as the falsifying of documents and the maintenance of arms caches. Although these acts are illegal they are not necessarily related to the preparation of violent acts.
The IVC has informed ETA that the continued possession of arms and explosives, especially if it involves the carrying of personal weapons, can give rise to potentially dangerous situations.
The IVC has been informed of issues that we do not consider are directly related to the ceasefire. For example, there have been isolated incidents of kale borroka disorder, which have been rejected by all political parties in the Basque Country. The IVC also takes note of fundraising taking place for prisoner’s families. In this sensitive period it is imperative that everyone acts with restraint and responsibility.
Through direct contacts, the IVC has received assurances that ETA is committed to both of its declarations: the ceasefire of January 2011 and the definitive end of armed violence in October of the same year.
The IVC has established positive working relationships in the Basque country that it wishes to continue extending. The IVC will continue to carry out its work in a determined and impartial manner with the objective to contribute to this historic opportunity for a lasting peace in the Basque country.
Note: The IVC is composed of the following members:
- Ronnie Kasrils is the former Minister of Inteligence and former Deputy Minister of Defence of South Africa.
- Chris Maccabe is a former political director of the British Government’s Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and former head of prisons in Northern Ireland.
- Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, is a Former Indian Deputy Chief of the Army Staff. Served as the first Force Commander and Head of Mission of the United Nations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia in 1992/1993
- Ray Kendall is a former British law enforcement officer, formerly President of the European Union Anti Fraud Office and Honorary Secretary General of Interpol.
- Ram Manikkalingam is the Director of the Dialogue Advisory Group and was the Senior Advisor to the previous President of Sri Lanka in negotiations with the tamil tigers.
- Fleur Ravensabergen is the IVC’s Coordinator and the Deputy Director of the Dialogue Advisory Group