ETA Announces End to Armed Activity

Posted October 20th, 2011 at 2:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The Basque separatist group ETA has declared an end to its armed struggle after more than four decades of violence in its quest for a homeland independent of Spain.

In a statement posted in the Basque daily Gara Thursday, ETA also called on the Spanish and French governments to open talks with the aim of resolving the conflict.

ETA declared a unilateral cease-fire in January, but it was rejected by Spain's government because the separatist group made no pledge to lay down its arms and disband. Spain, the United States and the European Union all regard ETA as a terrorist group.

Earlier this week, at a peace conference in the Basque city of San Sebastian, former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and other international negotiators urged ETA to make a public declaration to renounce violence and cease all armed action.

ETA has battled for more than 40 years to establish an independent homeland in the Basque regions of northern Spain and southwestern France. At least 829 people have been killed during the group's campaign for independence.