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Eta calls for peace agreement similar to Colombia's

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Eta calls for peace agreement similar to Colombia's
A mural in praise of Eta in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP
12:39 CEST+02:00
Basque separatist group Eta criticised Spain and France on Tuesday for failing to reach the kind of peace agreement with it that Colombia did with the leftist FARC rebel force.

In a statement published in pro-independence Basque newspaper Gara, the outfit said the response of the French and Spanish government to its declaration of a ceasefire five years ago has been "more than poor".

Eta said this contrasts with the succesful outcome of negotiations in Colombia "which began later" and "had a similar base".   

"Only Eta has kept its word," the outfit said in the statement.   

Eta in October 2011 announced an end to a four-decade armed campaign of bombings and shootings for an independent homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France in which over 800 people were killed.

The group has since sought to negotiate its dissolution with Spain and France in exchange for an amnesty or for gathering in Basque country prisons the roughly 350 jailed Eta members in the two countries.

Authorities have deliberately scattered Eta prisoners in different facilities in an effort to keep them from working together.   

Their families say the practice is added punishment and make its harder for loved ones to visit.

But Madrid and Paris refuse to negotiate with Eta and argue it should disarm without any conditions attached.

Eta has broken ceasefires in the past but it said in the statement that laying down arms was "the only path" for its militants.   

It said an amnesty or regroupment of its prisoners in both Spain and France should be handled "with the urgency that it deserves".   

Colombia's leftist FARC rebel force signed a historic peace accord with the government Monday and apologised to the countless victims of the country's half-century civil war.

The four-year peace process ended Colombia's civil strife, the last major armed conflict in the Americas. The accord remains to be ratified by referendum in a week.

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