Spain's minister says ETA defeated by security forces, rule of law

03 May, 2018, 18:35 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • The logo of the armed Basque separatist group ETA | Ander Gillenea  AFP via Getty Images

The Basque terrorist group ETA says it has "completely dissolved its structures" and "terminated its political initiative", formally ending a decades-long insurgency that killed hundreds in Spain.

"In principle it is good news that they are not killing".

"This is not the end of ETA that we wanted and, above all, is not the end of ETA we deserved", she said.

The Spanish government said it would continue to pursue members of ETA, despite its self-declared dissolution.

ETA, whose initials stand for "Euskadi ta Askatasuna" - or "Basque Homeland and Freedom" - killed 853 people in its armed campaign to create an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southern France.

He expected ETA to make a further direct declaration of its disbandment on Thursday, probably in a video.

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

ETA also caused outrage in 1987 after the vehicle bombing of a Barcelona supermarket killed 21 people, including a pregnant woman and two children, drawing condemnation from across the world. In 1980, the bloodiest year in ETA's history, it was responsible for about 100 deaths.

In this file photo taken on March 2, 2002 thousands of people demonstrate against pro-independence Basque group ETA, in the Northern Spanish Basque village of Portugalete, where ETA had exploded a bomb 28 February, injuring two people.

"A chapter in which the independence movement used violent methods is closing", he said.

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Masked members of ETA gesture following a news conference in 2011.

In this August 24, 2007 file photo, police officers work at the scene of a auto bomb that exploded outside a police station in the Basque city of Durango, northern Spain.

"They keep laying out coercive measures, not just against the Basques but against the Catalans", he said, adding that creating a Basque republic "could only be done through peaceful and democratic means". "Some are still bleeding because suffering is not a thing of the past", the group said. The official, who wasn't authorized to be named in media reports, declined to elaborate.

"ETA never should have existed".

ETA killed more than 850 people in its six decades of existence.

David Harland, the executive director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, which has been involved in peace negotiations between ETA and the Spanish government dating back to 2004, told The Associated Press that Thursday's announcement was a "unilateral" move by the group.

The region has one of the highest rates of economic output per capita and one of the lowest unemployment rates in Spain.

While an overwhelming majority of Basques welcome the end of violence, many still want independence. "We demand our total sovereignty in economic and social matters", he said.

But Otegi said the economic deal left the region with control over around only half of its public resources, and his party would push for more.

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