Basque separatists ETA announce cease-fire
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Last Updated: Sunday, September 05, 2010, 21:13
Madrid: The Basque separatist militant group ETA declared a cease-fire in a video statement issued on Sunday, suggesting it might turn to a political process in its quest for an independent homeland.

The video, which appeared in Basque newspaper Gara's website and was also made available to the British broadcaster BBC, showed three masked militants making a statement in Basque. Gara accompanied the video with a transcription of the statement in Basque and Spanish.

There was no immediate response from Spanish government, but the El Pais newspaper, whose editorial line is closely aligned with the ruling Socialist party, said the government had called for "caution".

The newspaper said on its website that Interior Minister Alferdo Perez Rubalcaba had been in touch with the Basque regional government to assess the statement, especially considering that ETA's statement did not say that the group would give up its weapons.

"ETA makes it known that as of some months ago it took the decision to no longer employ offensive armed actions," the statement said, suggesting it was ready to pursue a "democratic process" to achieve its goals.

ETA is seeking an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France. It is considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the US. It has killed more than 825 people since the late 1960s.

The militant group has declared cease-fires before, but none of them has led to the end of Europe's last major armed militancy.


First Published: Sunday, September 05, 2010, 21:13

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