Eta monitors 'working for peace' in Spain's Basque region

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Media captionMembers of the verification commission were summoned and asked about the whereabouts of Eta members

Monitors working to secure the disarmament of Eta militants in Spain have insisted that their only goal is to achieve peace in the Basque region.

Members of the International Verification Commission (IVC) spoke after facing questions by judges over a recent meeting with masked Eta members.

The IVC announced on Friday that the Basque separatist group had put a small number of its arms "beyond use".

Eta declared an end to its armed campaign in 2011.

It has killed more than 800 people over four decades.


The Spanish government refuses to negotiate with the militants, regarding them as terrorists.

It also does not recognise the work of the IVC, a group of former international politicians and diplomats, which aims to provide verification of Eta's January 2011 ceasefire and subsequent declaration of a "definitive end of violence".

In a video released on Friday, two IVC members were seen inspecting weapons that they said had been put out of use.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption IVC head Ram Manikkalingam said his organisation did not know the identity of the militants they met

But an organisation representing victims of the violence in the Basque Country asked a judge to question the IVC about the identity and whereabouts of the Eta militants.

The team members told the court they did not know who the militants they met were nor where Eta weapons were kept.

Commission head Ram Manikkalingam pledged to be "transparent" and cooperate with the tribunal.

"We are working for the consolidation of peace and coexistence in the Basque country," he said after leaving the court.

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