In a potentially historic development for Spain, the political wing of the ETA — the Basque separatist group — has announced it will call for the organization to lay down its arms after 40 years. Leaders of the wing are urging the organization, which has been in decline, to focus on bringing the issue of separatism back to the center of Basque politics.

The courts have routinely banned most of the political parties that call for Basque separatism, given their link to armed struggle.

Many in Spain’s Basque area, in the north of the country near the French border, believe the Basque homeland should be given autonomy from Spanish rule. –JCL

The Guardian:

The political wing of Eta, the Basque ­separatist group, will today make a ­historic call for the organisation to lay down its arms after 40 years, so that peace negotiators can get to work.

The call is a further sign of a ­growing rift between Eta and those who have ­traditionally spoken for the terrorist group, as it slides towards insignificance. It is seen as the first time Eta’s frontmen in the nationalist Batasuna party have dared to issue directions to the group.

In an interview to be published today by Berria, a Basque-language newspaper, Rufino Etxeberria, a separatist leader, said that attempts by himself and others close to Eta to bring separatism back to the centre of Basque ­politics included a peace ­process that would require the group to stop its attacks.

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