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Spain: 'No Impunity' for ETA Crimes

Spain: 'No Impunity' for ETA Crimes

Thursday, 3 May, 2018 - 11:00
A woman watches a news program announcing the dissolution of armed Basque separatists ETA, April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent West
Asharq Al-Awsat

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Thursday there would be “no room for impunity” for ETA's crimes even though the Basque separatist group has said it would fully disband.

"ETA can announce its disappearance but its crimes do not disappear nor do the efforts to pursue and punish them," Rajoy said in a televised speech in the northern city of Logrono.

“ETA has completely dissolved all its structures and ended its political initiative," said a letter dated April 16 and published by the Spanish online newspaper El Diario on Wednesday.

The letter sent to Basque regional institutions, also noted its dissolution "doesn't overcome the conflict that the Basque Country maintains with Spain and with France."

"The Basque Country is now before a new opportunity to finally close the conflict and build a collective future," the organization said. "Let's not repeat the errors, let's not allow for problems to rot."

The organization was formed in Madrid in 1959 by students angry at the repressive dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

In all, the group killed 853 people over four decades, according to a tally by the Spanish Interior Ministry. ETA also injured more than 2,600 people, kidnapped 86 and threatened hundreds more, according to the latest government count.

Responding to ETA’s announcement, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido stuck on Wednesday with the government's hard line and vowed to keep investigating unresolved crimes attributed to ETA.

"ETA obtained nothing through its promise to stop killing, and it will obtain nothing by announcing what they call dissolution," he told reporters.

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