The Basque separatist group Eta has announced a permanent ceasefire in its campaign for independence from Spain, which has cost most than 800 lives over the past 40 years. This is the statement in full.
"With this declaration Eta, the Basque socialist revolutionary organisation for national liberation, wishes to give news of its decision to the Basque Country:
In recent months, from Brussels to Gernika [Guernica], well known personalities on the world level and many Basque social and political actors, have stressed the need to bring a just and democratic solution to the centuries-old conflict. ETA agrees. The solution will come through the democratic process with dialogue and negotiation as its tools and with its compass pointed towards the will of the Basque people.
The democratic process has to overcome all situations of denial and violations of rights and must respond to the key elements at the heart of the political conflict, namely territorial sovereignty and self-determination.
It is the task of the Basque social and political actors to reach agreements in order to come to an agreed formulation concerning the recognition of the Basque Country and of the right to decide, ensuring that all political projects, including independence, are possible. At the end of the process, Basque citizens must have their say and a right to decide on their future without any limit or interference.
All parties have to commit themselves to respect the agreements reached as well as the decision of the Basque people, and to put in place guarantees and mechanisms to this end.
Therefore, ETA has decided to declare a permanent and general ceasefire which will be verifiable by the international community. This is ETA's firm commitment towards a process to achieve a lasting resolution and towards an end to the armed confrontation.
It is time to act with historical responsibility. ETA calls upon those governing Spain and France to end all repressive measures and to leave aside for once and for all their position of denial towards the Basque Country.
ETA will continue its indefatigable struggle and efforts to promote and to bring to a conclusion the democratic process until there is a truly democratic situation in the Basque Country.
Long live the free Basque country! Long live the Socialist Basque country!"