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Basque group Eta insists armed campaign has finished

October 20, 2011

The Basque separatist outfit Eta says that its campaign of attacks, such as bombings and shootings, has officially finished.

A statement Eta made called on the authorities in Spain and France to respond through “a process of direct dialogue”. This declaration, if genuine, will mean that an end has been brought to a campaign of violence spanning 40 years that has been solely responsible for the deaths of more than 800 people.

As of yet, the Spanish government hasn’t responded to the announcement. Experts say that Madrid is likely to react with extreme caution, repeating its calls for Eta, which its says has been weakened in recent years by immense security crackdowns, to completely disarm and disband.

The declaration comes not long after a conference this week that was held in the Basque Country and was attended by international statesmen such as the UN’s former Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and some of the key protagonists in the peace process of Northern Ireland. At the conference, Eta was called on to surrender its arms.

In its statement, Eta spoke of a new political age starting in the Basque Country and told of how a historic opportunity to find a just, democratic solution to a centuries-old political conflict has now come to light. The statement concluded that, in a historic declaration, Eta has now demonstrated a clear and definitive purpose.

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