The Basque separatist group ETA has brought half a century of bloodshed to an historic end.
In a video on the website of the Basque Gara newspaper, three masked leaders said in a statement: “ETA has announced a permanent ceasefire and appeals to the governments of Spain and France to open direct talks that will aim to resolve the consequences of conflict, and as a result, we can move on from armed conflict.”
ETA, which formed 53 years ago, has been one of Europe’s bloodiest groups and has killed 830 people in bomb and pistol attacks since its formation.
Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero reacted to the statement, saying: “Right now, I am thinking especially of the Basque people. I am convinced that from now on they can enjoy a life that is no longer associated with fear and intimidation. They can live together in liberty and peace.”
ETA was following a peace script put together at a conference in San Sebastian, with the help of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. He was joined by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, who shared their experiences of ending the Northern Irish conflict.