Thursday, October 20, 2011

Basque Separatists ETA Officially End Campaign of Violence

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM

The New York Times is reporting that the militant Basque separatist group ETA has released an official statement ending its decades-long campaign of violence, saying it wished to seize a “historical opportunity to reach a just and democratic resolution.”

From the article:

“ETA has decided the definitive cessation of its military activity. ETA calls on the governments of Spain and France to open a process of direct dialogue whose objective is the resolution of the consequences of the conflict and thus the end of the armed confrontation.

“Finally, ETA calls on Basque society to involve itself in the process of solutions to construct a situation of peace and liberty,” the statement said.

The statement, a written document and an accompanying video of masked ETA members reading the statement aloud, was released to the New York Times and the BBC and will be released to two Basque-language newspapers that ETA sees as sympathetic, Garra and Berria.

The announcement appeared to heavily follow the advice of informal peace negotiators like Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations, and Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist group, who said they were working to end the last armed confrontation in Europe. Language in key passages was reportedly nearly identical to the wording suggested by negotiators.

However, not all critics were satisfied. The statement didn't state outright that violence would never resume.

The ETA statement, far from renouncing the group’s goal of independence, reasserted it emphatically, with the commanders joining at the video’s end with traditional ETA rallying cries reaffirming their demands for freedom.

“The fight for independence for the Basque homeland goes on!” they cried.

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