Eta asks forgiveness for pain and harm of separatist campaign

Eta asks forgiveness for pain and harm of separatist campaign

Eta asks forgiveness for pain and harm of separatist campaign

In a statement released on Friday morning, the group made a full and unambiguous apology for its actions, accepting that it bore "direct responsibility" for years of bloodshed and misery.

The official Basque regional broadcaster ETB, which has in the past had access to the organisation's plans, reported this week that ETA's dissolution would be announced in the first weekend of May.

ETA's victims were also critical of the announcement because it sought the forgiveness of victims "who didn't have a direct participation in the conflict" - apparently excluding those who had been specifically targeted by ETA. We wish to show our respect for the dead, the injured, and the victims that were created by ETA's actions.

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"ETA, the national Basque socialist revolutionary liberation organisation, wants to acknowledge by this declaration the harm caused by its armed course, and demonstrate its commitment to definitively overcoming the consequences of the conflict and avoiding a repetition". "We are very sorry".

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government said: "ETA should have sincerely and unconditionally asked for forgiveness for the damage caused a long time ago".

"No one can change the past, but one of the most damaging things we could do now would be to try to distort or hide certain episodes".

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Eta also expressed the hope that there would be negotiations over the region's future, adding: "A democratic solution to the political conflict could yield peace and bring about the freedom of the Basque country".

The statement came just days before ETA is expected to announce its dissolution. The armed group waged a bloody campaign for independence for seven regions in Northern Spain and South-west France.

ETA, designated a terrorist group by the USA government, has been blamed for the deaths of more than 850 people since the late 1960s in its quest for an independent homeland out of territory in northern Spain and southwestern France.

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