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Basque exiles set for Spain return

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Basque exiles set for Spain return
Members of the International Verification Commission (IVC) being handed documents by masked members of ETA in an undisclosed location in January 2014. Photo: Naiz Info/AFP.
07:07 CET+01:00
Around 100 fugitives from ETA said Saturday they will return to the Spanish Basque country from southwestern France as the considerably weakened separatist group moves towards a historic disarmament.

Earlier this month western Europe's last major violent separatist movement said it would put its arsenal of weapons "out of operational use," more than two years after announcing a definitive end to armed activity.

"To continue the process of resolution, it is necessary to bring all prisoners and exiles back home," said a statement from ETA read out Saturday in the French Basque village of Arcangues.

"We will begin to walk the streets of our hometowns. You will see us back in the streets and squares of our villages of origin."

ETA said last year that it counted 500 to 600 exiles around the world, including about 150 in France.

The group has also called for the release of some 500 of its members who are held in French and Spanish prisons, which has been a key sticking point in negotiations with Madrid.

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