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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020
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Spain rejects ETA offer to disband: 'We don't talk to terrorists'

The armed Basque separatist group had said it was willing to speak to the government about a dissolution.

Thousands of pro-independence Basque citizens march in a rally calling for a general amnesty for more than 700 ETA prisoners earlier this year.
Thousands of pro-independence Basque citizens march in a rally calling for a general amnesty for more than 700 ETA prisoners earlier this year.
Image: Alvaro Barrientos/AP

SPAIN’S GOVERNMENT has flatly rejected an offer by the armed Basque group ETA to negotiate its disarmament and dissolution.

ETA, blamed for 829 killings in more than four decades of fighting for a Basque homeland, said last night it was ready to discuss disarming and disbanding with France and Spain under certain conditions.

The group, which last year said it had abandoned violence, said in a statement on Basque newspaper Gara’s website that one outstanding issue was the transfer of Basque prisoners to jails closer to home.

But Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party government refused to consider talks with ETA.

“They know that we have not negotiated nor will we negotiate in any way with the terrorist organisation,” interior minister Fernandez Diaz told reporters.

“So the only statement the government demands, not requests but demands and is working for, is its unconditional dissolution,” he said.

ETA is listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

Repeated raids and arrests by Spanish security forces in cooperation with its allies, especially France, have severely weakened the group.

Its last attack on Spanish soil was in August 2009.

Both Spain and France insist on the complete dismantling of ETA’s arsenal and its unconditional dissolution. The Spanish government has repeatedly ruled out talks with ETA over its prisoners.

Read: ETA says it’s ready to disband if certain conditions are met

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