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ETA to announce definitive end in French Basque Country in May

The group, which waged a violent campaign for independence that cost the lives of 829 people, has been seeking international support before making the announcement

El final de ETA
ETA announcing a permanent ceasefire in October 2011.

The terrorist organization ETA will announce its dissolution the first weekend of May, at an act which will be held in the French Basque Country. That’s according to sources from the Basque radical left, known as the abertzale.

The group, which waged a violent decades-long campaign for independence for the Basque Country that cost the lives of 829 people and injured hundreds more, has spent months working on a declaration to confirm its disappearance, and was planning to do so around the end of May and the first half of June, as EL PAÍS exclusively revealed several weeks ago.

The end of the cycle is ever more clear, and, as a consequence of the decisions taken, has already taken place in a major way

ETA statement

This will mark an end to the internal debate that has been ongoing within the group to agree on and make public its disappearance on the basis that its “function and cycle” have now ended, according to a statement released by the group itself on February 22.

“The end of the cycle is ever more clear, and, as a consequence of the decisions taken, has already taken place in a major way,” ETA stated. “The end of the political-military strategy marked the start of the end of the cycle of the organization.”

In recent weeks, the heads of the terrorist group have been seeking international backing before announcing its definitive end.

The group has delegated the task of its dissolution to the International Contact Group (GIC), which is being coordinated by the South African lawyer Brian Currin, and in which the former general secretary of Interpol, Raymond Kendall, and Israeli professor and advisor in the Camp David agreements, Alberto Spektorowski, are participating. The same group took part in the Aiete Declaration, which was made prior to the definitive end to ETA terrorism in October 2011.

Agus Hernán, the president of a group known as Foro Social, and which is close to the Basque radical left and the GIC, has stated that the aim of the international backing is to “strengthen the credibility” of the declaration of the disappearance of ETA. The Aiete Declaration counted on the presence of the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, the ex-Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the former leader of Irish political party Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, and Tony Blair’s former chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, among other figures. It was celebrated in San Sebastián (Gipuzkoa), and as such required the authorization of the Spanish government, presided at the time by Socialist Party (PSOE) Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

The act planned for the first weekend of May will also count on the participation of political and social agents, as well as international figures. Further details about the announcement will be made public on Monday at a press conference, in which members of the GIC group will take part, according to reports from the Basque regional television channel, ETB.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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