Sunday, April 9, 2017

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If All Goes Well Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, (ETA) To Hand Over Weapons And Explosives

Writing yesterday Mick Hall reported that:

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) the Basque separatist group, if all goes well will disarm later today, bringing to an end decades of war with the Spanish State.

ETA  announces ceasefire back in 2010

In a letter addressed to the international community, ETA, which has waged a military campaign of bombings and shootings said it was giving up all of its weapons and explosives. "Disarmament day" is today and we want to warn that still the process can be attacked by the enemies of peace' the group said in the letter in English and Spanish published by the BBC and dated April 7th.

In the note, ETA, which is still considered a terrorist group by the EU, said it had abandoned "all its weaponry (arms and explosives) to Basque civil society representatives" and described itself as a "disarmed organization".

The group said Bayonne, a city in the French Basque region will be the focal point of the disarmament process where it's expected thousands of it's supporters will gather later today.

ETA's announcement comes after the head of the regional Basque government, Inigo Urkullu, said last month that the separatist group planned to fully lay down its weapons by April 8th.

Urkullu at the time called on the Spanish and French governments to "show ambitious vision and open direct lines of communication" with ETA.

But Madrid rebuffed the plea and instead demanded the group dissolve and never reappear.

In its newly-published letter, ETA said the process of disarming has been "a hard and difficult task", praising the Basque authorities while accusing Spain and France of being "stubborn".

Earlier Thursday doubts had been raised over the final handover of arms, with arrangements for the event remaining sketchy.

Peacemakers drawn from French civil society will hand over an inventory of the weapons on behalf of ETA on the sidelines of a "big popular gathering" in Bayonne.

But a source close to ETA said that negotiations were still under way with French authorities and that the actual handover of the arsenal which is said to consists of guns and two tonnes of explosives would take place outside Bayonne to ensure that it is "total and verifiable".

"This disarmament is essential to definitively turn the page on violence in the Basque Country, but must nevertheless be carried out in full respect of the rule of law", French Socialist party senator in the region Frederique Espagnac told AFP.

The rightwing Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said on Wednesday there "would be no negotiations nor concessions" to ETA members in exchange for disarmament.

Let's hope eventually wiser heads prevail.

The group was founded in 1959 and held their first assembly in Bayonne, France in 1962, hence the significance of that city for the movement.

It fought the Franco dictatorship ferociously. Its most significant success during those years was OperaciĆ³n Ogro, the December 1973 assassination in central Madrid of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, Franco's chosen successor. Planned meticulously for months and executed by placing a bomb in a tunnel dug below the street where Carrero Blanco's car passed every day. The bomb blew up beneath the facist's car and threw it five stories into the air and over the top of a nearby building onto a balcony in a nearby courtyard.

Carrero Blanco's assassination removed Franco's chosen successor, and  was an instrumental step for the subsequent establishment of democracy in Spain.

In September 1975 just eight weeks before Franco's death two ETA members were brutally executed by being garrotted. This caused massive protest to erupt in Spain and internationally.

If ETA had stood down when the Franco dictatorship imploded the world would have regarded them as heroes. Sadly their war raged on for decades. Both their victims and the members of ETA suffered much pain.

While Spain's right wing government rejects the hand of peace, on the streets of Bilbao there was a more positive reaction to ETA decision to hand over their weaponry. "I really support the disarmament. I’m a sympathiser, not with ETA but with some of the political ideas. It is time to recognise that the people in this region deserve peace," one man said.


marty said...

Looks like ETA has went down the same road as the ANC and the RA,according to the so called rev Good ,are we now to witness the same result after decades of struggle,the current leaders and cronies to line their and their cronies pockets and with nothing whatsoever for those who done the heavy lifting and suffered for the cause both here and in S.Africa. . maybe the sensible thing would have been a dump arms and keep the powder dry , but hey quislings get better rewards for a complete sell out, Africa and norn iorn being the example ..