Tags: eta | basque | end | violence

Basque Separatists ETA Say End Armed Struggle

Thursday, 20 Oct 2011 05:42 PM


Basque separatists ETA, Europe's last major guerrilla group, called a halt to 50 years of violence on Thursday.

ETA's fight to carve out an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France has been severely weakened by the arrests of hundreds of its members in recent years and seizures of its weapons.

"ETA has decided the definitive cessation of its armed activity. ETA calls upon the Spanish and French governments to open a process of direct dialogue with the aim of addressing the resolution of the conflict," the group said in a statement through Basque-language newspaper Gara and an online video.

Three masked ETA members sat behind a table to read the statement in the video and raised their fists in the air at the end of the statement. The group has come under pressure from its own political arm and former members, now in prison, to disband.

The three did not say whether the guerrilla force would turn in its weapons, which Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said is a condition for any negotiations with ETA.

The government welcomed the announcement.

"This has been possible thanks to the mettle and strength of Spanish society, guided by the rule of law, which triumphs today as the only possible way for people to coexist," said Zapatero.

"Our democracy will be one without terrorism, but not one without memory." ETA called a permanent ceasefire in January which was dismissed by Zapatero as meaningless unless they turned in arms.

The Socialist government is deeply unpopular and expected to lose a general election on Nov. 20 due to voter anger over a sluggish economy and a sky-high unemployment.

Even if his government can claim victory in the decades-long effort to bring an end to ETA, analysts have said it will be difficult for the Socialists to make any political gains because voters are more concerned about jobs.

ETA has not killed anyone since March 2010 when a French police officer was killed by members of the group leaving the scene of a robbery. Spain's government says ETA has killed 829 people during its decades of guerrilla activity.

The ETA announcement follows a conference in the Basque country on Monday when international leaders and ex-politicians appealed to ETA to end its struggle.

Mainstream Spanish politicians and press poured scorn on Monday's peace conference and the conclusions it reached. Most Spanish newspapers denounced it as a ruse by ETA's banned political wing to attract international attention and strengthen its hand in possible future negotiations.

The centre-right People's Party, which polls show will win the November election, said in a statement on Twitter that ETA's pledge to end armed struggle was meaningless unless the group turned in its weapons. (Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Robert Woodward)

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Experts: Iran Now a Nuclear-Ready State, Missiles Capable of Hitting US

Sunday, 01 Feb 2015 18:30 PM

Regardless of intelligence uncertainties and unknowns about Iran's nuclear weapons and missile programs, we know enough  . . .

Ben Carson: Obama Letting Islamists 'Destroy Us'

Sunday, 01 Feb 2015 16:26 PM

Dr. Ben Carson, an expected GOP presidential contender, said he wants to see the size of government reduced if he one da . . .

Justice Department Probes Moody's for Mortgage Deal Grades: WSJ

Sunday, 01 Feb 2015 17:32 PM

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Moody's Investors Services for issuing favorable grades on mortgage deal . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved