Basque group ETA says dismantles its military wing

by Reuters
Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:42 GMT

BILBOA, Spain, July 20 (Reuters) - Armed Basque separatist group ETA has dismantled its military wing and set up a group to finalise the deactivation of any remaining weapons and explosives, according to an ETA statement in a Basque newspaper on Sunday.

The announcement in Gara newspaper is the latest step toward full disarmament for ETA which called an unilateral ceasefire in 2011. More than 800 people have died in almost four decades of attacks by the group.

"The dismantling of the logistic and operational structures from the armed struggle is complete," the group said.

The ETA statement was dated July 15, the day before Basque political representatives met with international mediators Martin McGuinness and Jonathan Powell who are tasked with overseeing the disarmament and ceasefire.

On March 1, ETA pledged to give up all its weapons though warned it was a difficult process that not only depended on its goodwill and that of the monitors, but also on the Spanish authorities.

Spain's Interior Ministry dismissed the latest ETA announcement as nothing new, and reiterated calls for an unconditional disbandment of the group, according to El Mundo.

No one at the Ministry was immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Arantza Goyoaga; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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