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The news prompted jubilation across the country, where ordinary citizens say they can hardly believe the end has come for a group blamed for more than 800 deaths and about $15.5bn in damage since the 1960s.
"Any peace process after so many years of horror and terror will be long and difficult," he told parliament. Zapatero said that until now, Spain's political parties had been joined in pain over ETA violence.
"Now I trust we will be joined in hope."
The cease-fire was seen as a huge victory for Zapatero, but his critics maintained a hard line, saying they would fight to make sure the government does not give too much away.
Many Spaniards believed that after the March 11 2004, terror attacks in Madrid, carried out by Islamic extremists, ETA had effectively been stymied.
The idea is that popular revulsion over terrorism made more deadly violence politically unthinkable.
Does ETA have ties to al-Qaeda?
No. ETA’s secular nationalist agenda has nothing to do with the Islamist fundamentalism of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, and there is no credible evidence of any systematic cooperation between ETA and al-Qaeda, experts say. But al-Qaeda cells have been discovered in Spain. In November 2001, Spanish authorities arrested eight men suspected of being al-Qaeda operatives involved in the September 11 attacks. One of these men reportedly had past links with ETA’s unofficial political wing, Batasuna, which the Spanish Supreme Court banned in March 2003. In September 2003, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon said the September 11 attacks were partially planned in Spain.