Report: Spain’s ETA Group to Fully Lay down Arms by April 8

Spain’s Basque separatist group ETA reportedly has plans to fully lay down its weapons by April 8, a source close to disarmament initiative said Friday.

As part of the agreement, ETA would provide the authorities with the location of its arms stockpiles, the source said.

“There is an initiative that has a date: April 8,” the source told AFP.

Europa Press news agency reported that ETA’s declaration is aimed at speeding the stalled process, it said citing sources close to the disarmament initiative.

The Basque government said regional leader Inigo Urkullu was due to comment on the news at 2 p.m. (1300 GMT). Spain’s Interior Ministry declined to comment.

“ETA has handed us responsibility for the disarmament of its arsenal and, as of the evening of April 8, ETA will have completely handed over its weapons,” Txetx Etcheverry, an activist with environmental campaign group Bizi, was quoted as saying in France’s Le Monde newspaper. Bizi is a pro-Basque independence association.

ETA, which has killed more than 800 people over several decades through bombings and assassinations, called a unilateral ceasefire in 2011 and has pledged to turn in its weapons, though a full handover has not yet happened.

The group has been severely weakened in recent years after hundreds of its members, including its leader, were arrested and police seized several of its weapons stashes.

ETA was formed in the late 1950s during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco with the aim of establishing an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southern France.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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