In an historic brokerage for peace, international leaders are huddling in Spain's Basque region this week, appealing to the separatist group ETA to end decades of violent struggles for independence. According to Reuters, the group has killed more than 850 people in bombings and shootings since 1968.
High-profile international figures, who have helped broker solutions in Northern Ireland and South Africa, attended Monday's opening session of the peace conference in San Sebastian, Spain.
"We call on ETA to make a public declaration of a definitive end to armed activity and call for dialogue with the governments of Spain and France to talk about the consequences of the conflict," said Former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, one of the peace brokers.
Organized by Basque citizens group Lokarri, the three-day meeting is seen as a chance for ETA to renounce bloodshed. The Spanish government has repeatedly said it will not negotiate with ETA unless it definitively lays down arms and disbands.
Spain's Socialist government did not support the conference but the PNV, the mainstream, nonviolent Basque nationalist party, helped in the preparation of the gathering.