The Basque separatist group ETA plans to fully lay down its weapons by April 8 by providing the location of stockpiles, the head of the regional Basque government said today.
Inigo Urkullu confirmed the possibility that ETA was ready to give up its arms after decades of often violent conflict in Spain and France, and asked both Madrid and Paris to help facilitate talks.
Urkullu said his government had been informed of the possible disarmament, and said he hoped it would be "definitive, unilateral, irrevocable, complete and legal".
Earlier today, an activist in Bizi, a Basque association, told French daily Le Monde that the group's disarmament should be completed if possible before France's upcoming presidential election, with the first round of voting set for April 23.
"ETA has given us the responsibility of disarming its arsenal and, on the evening of April 8, ETA will be completely disarmed," said the activist, Txetx Etcheverry.
Urkullo said: "The Basque government judges credible the potential for a final disarmament in the short-term.
"It asks... The Spanish and French governments to show ambitious vision and open direct lines of communication" in order to reach "a goal with historic importance for our society."
ETA, founded in 1959 and considered a terrorist group by the European Union, is seeking to negotiate its dissolution in exchange for amnesties or improved prison conditions for its roughly 350 members held in Spain and France.
The group is blamed for the deaths of 829 people in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for an independent homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.
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