Basque group ETA apologizes to victims ahead of dissolution

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San Sebastian, April 20 (IANS) Basque separatist group ETA on Friday apologized to the victims of its decades-long conflict for independence, just days before an expected announcement of its dissolution.

The group asked for “forgiveness” for killing people without “a direct participation in the conflict”. Spain’s government said ETA was defeated politically and operationally and did not achieve any of its goals, the BBC reported.

It killed some 800 people and wounded thousands more in 40 years of conflict.

In a statement published in Basque newspapers, Gara and Berria, ETA said: “We are aware that during this long period of armed conflict, we have caused a lot of pain, including a lot of harm that is irreparable. We want to show our respect to the dead, the wounded and the victims of ETA’s actions, those who have been affected by the conflict. We are very sorry.”

The organization added that as a result of errors or erroneous decisions, it had also caused victims “who did not have a direct involvement in the conflict, both in Basque Country as well as outside it”.

“To these people and their families, we apologize. These words will not resolve what happened, nor mitigate so much pain. We say this respectfully, without wanting to cause any more pain,” the statement added.

The group, which waged a bloody campaign for independence for seven regions in northern Spain and southwest France, is expected to announce its dissolution in early May.

The group also said it was committed to moving forward with the process of reconciliation in the Basque country.

In September 2010, ETA announced that it would not carry out further attacks and declared a permanent ceasefire in January 2011.

In April 2017, the militant group revealed the locations of its weapons caches and said it had completely disarmed.

–IANS

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