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Basque separatist group announces ceasefire

The separatist group ETA announced on television that its ceasefire would take effect from Friday.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 10:39 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

The armed Basque separatist group ETA on Thursday followed up a ceasefire announcement by calling on all sectors of Basque society to "move from words to action" by getting involved in the peace process.

The call came in an extended version of a communiqué that on Wednesday announced a permanent ceasefire to meet the Spanish government's key condition for peace talks, nearly four decades after starting an armed conflict that has killed more than 800 people.

In a statement on Basque television read out by one of three hooded figures against a backdrop of ETA symbols, the movement said its ceasefire would take effect from Friday.

Thursday's statement came in the Basque nationalist daily Gara, previously used to announce ETA attacks.

"ETA believes that it is up to all sectors of Basque society to develop this process and conciliate all the agreements on the future of Euskal Herria (the Basque country) taking into account the plurality and integrality of Euskal Herria," said the statement on Gara's website.

"It is the moment to speak out. All sectors together must make serious commitments so that all together we can construct the democratic solution that Euskal Herria needs. It is the moment to act with courage and take deep decisions, moving from words to action," it said.

After Wednesday's announcement Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero welcomed the step and said Spaniards were now "united by hope," while warning that "a long road lies ahead" to cement lasting peace.

"We will react with prudence to reach the end of this historic drama," he added.

First Published: Mar 23, 2006 10:39 IST