World Media

ETA to announce disarmament

ETA to announce disarmament

On Friday, Le Monde reported that Eta was ready to give up its weapons once and for all and meant to reveal the locations of its hidden stockpiles very soon.

France's Le Monde newspaper reports the group has scheduled a full handover of weapons for April 8, six years after declaring a permanent ceasefire.

"ETA gave us the responsibility of disarming its arsenal, and the evening of April 8, ETA will be totally disarmed", he said.

Yes, but so far only part of the group's arsenal.

ETA was formed in the late 1950s during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco with the aim of establishing an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southern France.

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The intervening period has seen the arrest of over 140 people thought to have links with the organization and it is thought ETA's military capacity is now nearly inexistent, with its few remaining members living in or hiding in France.

"ETA has to do two things: disarm and dissolve itself", Spanish government spokesperson Inigo Mendez de Vigo told a news conference on Friday.

"ETA has made its umpteenth announcement".

The governments of Spain and France have demanded that ETA to lay down its weapons without conditions, and to disband.

The separatist group has been severely weakened in recent years after hundreds of its members were arrested and some of its weapons were seized.

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Spanish media say recent seizures of arms have been quite small, which they say indicate Eta does not have many weapons left - giving its disarmament a predominantly symbolic character. They were charged with possession of explosives and weapons, released on bail and are awaiting trial.

Eta has not yet issued a statement on the pledged disarmament.

Groups representing ETA victims in Spain urged the government not to make any concessions.

The interior minister said Eta "won't get anything in exchange".

"It's time for the relatives to close their mourning by identifying the assassins of their loved ones", Blanco said.

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The economically powerful Basque region, where there is a strong cultural identity and the Basque language is spoken along Spanish, is one of 17 semi-autonomous regions in Spain.


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