ETA: Basque Separatist Group Disbands After Decades Of Conflict

The logo of the armed Basque separatist group ETA | Ander Gillenea  AFP via Getty Images

The logo of the armed Basque separatist group ETA | Ander Gillenea AFP via Getty Images

ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or Basque Country and Freedom) declared a ceasefire in 2011 and handed over weapons in April 2017, bringing Western Europe's last major armed insurgency to a close.

"ETA has chose to declare its historical cycle and functions terminated, putting an end to its journey", the group said in a letter published on Wednesday by Spanish online newspaper El Diario.

The decision, ETA said in the letter, "doesn't overcome the conflict that the Basque Country maintains with Spain and with France".

"They must pay for what they did", he said about the group, which had killed 829 people in its struggle to establish an independent state in Spain's northern Basque region and south west corner of France. "ETA can announce its disappearance, however, its offenses or so the actions of the judiciary wont evaporate".

Speaking per day after an ETA letter surfaced saying that it'd "completely dissolved its arrangements", Rajoy stated the group had failed to imposing by way of violence a different Basque state.

Many ETA victims or relatives say the separatist group should first and foremost condemn their history of violence and shed light on more than 350 unsolved crimes.

Responding to the announcement, Spanish interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido vowed to keep investigating unresolved crimes attributed to ETA. The letter was sent to figures such as former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan to reassure them that ETA was firm in its decision to disband, the representative said.

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"They will not obtain a thing for making a declaration they call a dissolution", he said.

The group - deemed a "terrorist organisation" by several countries including Spain, France, and the United States - was founded in 1959 during General Francisco Franco's rule in Spain.

In 1973 the group assassinated Spanish Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco in a car-bomb attack.

The group has demanded that prisoners be moved to prisons closer to their families after the end of ETA, AFP news agency reported on Wednesday.

A final public declaration from ETA, which Spain regards as a terrorist group, is expected later on Thursday.

At a news conference Wednesday in the southern Spanish city of San Sebastian, Covite President Consuelo Ordonez criticized a statement last week in which ETA sought forgiveness from victims "who didn't have a direct role in the conflict".

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