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Eta announces end of armed struggle

Basque separatist group Eta has declared the “definitive cessation of its armed activity” and called for talks with the French and Spanish governments.

The announcement came after talks with mediators led by former UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan and Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams, as well as calls from Eta’s political allies on the Basque separatist left.

The Guardian has commented that Eta is following “a closely scripted route towards peace” and the BBC correspondent in Basque said “the event was so carefully choreographed that this move from Eta was widely anticipated” , after the talks earlier this week.

In a statement released to the media, Eta said,

“Eta considers that the international conference held recently in the Euskal Herria [Basque Country] is an initiative of great political transcendence. The agreed resolution brings together the ingredients for an integrated solution to the conflict and has the support of large sectors of Basque society and of the international community.

In Euskal Herria, a new political age is opening. We face a historic opportunity to obtain a just and democratic solution to the age-old political conflict.

Faced with violence and repression, dialogue and agreement must characterise the new age. The recognition of Euskal Herria and respect for popular will must prevail over any imposition. This is the will of the majority of Basque citizens.”

See their full statement here.

The decision from Eta comes as a new nationalist Left coalition, called the Bildu, gears up for elections in the Basque country on November 20th. Bildu was initially banned by the Spanish government, but it was lifted in May this year, where they caused a major upset by defeating the ruling Socialist party in municipal elections.

Eta or "Euskadi ta Askatasuna", which means "Basque homeland and freedom" in the region's Euskara language, was founded in 1959 whilst military dictator General Francisco Franco ruled Spain.

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