Peace Conference Urges Basque Group ETA to Renounce Violence

Posted October 17th, 2011 at 3:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and other international negotiators have urged the Basque separatist group ETA to make a declaration renouncing violence in its four-decade-long struggle for independence.

Delegates at Monday's conference in the Basque city of San Sebastian recommended that ETA make a definitive public resolution to lay down arms and cease all armed action. They said doing so would open the door for a dialogue with the governments of France and Spain to talk about the consequences of the conflict. However, the meeting was not attended by representatives of Spain's government or of ETA.

ETA wants to establish an independent homeland in the Basque regions of northern Spain and southwest France. At least 829 people have been killed during the group's 40-year-long quest for independence.

ETA declared a unilateral cease-fire in January of this year, but Spain's government insisted that the group lay down its arms and disband.

In 2006, the Spanish government and ETA held peace talks after ETA declared a permanent cease-fire. But in December of that year, the group set off a bomb at Madrid's airport, killing two people.