Thursday, 20 October 2011

ETA announces end to violence

SPAIN (El País) The Basque terrorist group ETA, which for 43 years has been responsible for a campaign of terror that has cost the lives of more than 820 people in Spain and France, announced on Thursday that it has decided to put an end to its violent struggle and called on the governments of both countries to begin a dialogue for a peaceful political solution for a Basque independent state. In a statement published online by the pro-independence newspapers Gara and Berria, ETA said that it has taken "a clear, firm and definite commitment" to "end the armed confrontation." The move comes just four days after an international panel led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, meeting in San Sebastián, issued a recommendation calling for ETA to give up the armed struggle and for the Spanish government to discuss the possibility of moving the estimated 700 ETA prisoners closer to their families in the Basque country. Mediators also want ETA to agree to a verifiable ceasefire. ETA has been dealt a series of blows by the governments of Spain and France. Four of the group's military leaders were arrested in succession in a string of busts between 2008 and 2009. Leaders of the outlawed Batasuna party, along with radical abertzale left members, also joined the call on Tuesday for ETA to lay down its arms.

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