21 Oct 2011

ETA to cease campaign

6:24 pm on 21 October 2011

Basque group ETA says it has called a definitive end to its 40-year campaign for independence for the seven regions in northern Spain and south-west France.

It is now calling on the Spanish and French governments to respond with a process of direct dialogue.

the BBC reports that the declaration, if followed through, would bring an end to ETA's campaign of violence, which has lasted more than 40 years and killed more than 800 people.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain says the move is a victory for democracy, law and reason.

He said that terror should never have happened and must never be return.

The declaration follows a conference this week in the Basque Country, attended by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and protagonists in the Northern Ireland peace process.

They called on ETA to lay down its arms.

The BBC reports the group has abandoned previous ceasefires and the government is cautious about engaging in another peace process, after the last one failed.

A "permanent" ceasefire previously declared in 2006, only to be broken by a bombing an airport car park in Madrid, killing two people.