The regional Basque government announced on Friday that they have contacted the leaders of Eta, who say that they will not just lay down their arms next month, but will also offer up the location of all their weaponry stockpiles.
Eta have spent decades trying to create an independent Basque, but sympathisers have disagreed with their tactics and work by Spanish and French police have reduced the power of the group, rendering them unable to continue their attacks.
An ETA activist confirmed last week that the group will finalise their disarmament by April 8th, with disarmament completed no later than the date of the French general election; April 23rd.
Even though the Basque region is officially a part of Spain, ETA claims that a part of it is in southwest France as well. The governments of both countries have long resisted the actions and pressure of the group, which claimed hundreds of lives in the 80s and 90s.
The group was formed in 1959 and – since then – there are some 830 deaths attributed to the group. The last time they performed a deadly attack was back in 2010, which claimed the life of a French policeman in Paris.
The group has taken a more political approach since then, calling a ceasefire in 2011. Even though the group is still considered a terrorist group, many of the its members have begun hiding in plain sight.
Txetx Etcheverry – an activist with ETA access – said that ETA gave them the responsibility of disarming their arsenal, and that the group would be completely disarmed by the evening of April 8. The Basque government say they see the potential for a complete and final disarmament in the short term, and asked for the cooperation of the Spanish and French governments; asking them to open communication lines and show ambitious vision to reach a goal that benefits – and is historically important to – society.
Madrid is likely to welcome the news of disarmament. Spain has been fighting hard to keep its unity following the reign of Franco, and is still dealing with the Catalan independence issue on top of this Basque separatist problem.