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Spain urges the disarmed Eta to help solve killings

By Aritz Para

Spain has said it will not offer anything in return for the disarmament of Basque separatist group Eta and urged the militants to disband and help police clear unsolved crimes.

In a letter yesterday to the BBC, Eta declared itself a weapons-free organisation after giving up its entire arsenal to civil society groups. It confirmed the mediators would complete the disarmament today.

Spain said Eta does not need to be applauded for the move because the hard work of police and judges had already defeated the group, leading to a ceasefire in 2011.

The conservative government's spokesman, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, said that Eta members should help its victims' relatives by co-operating with hundreds of unresolved cases.

Eta killed 829 people over 43 years of armed struggle.

"After giving up all its weaponry (arms and explosives) to Basque civil society representatives, it is now a disarmed organisation," the militant group said in the letter.

The letter, dated Friday and signed with Eta's seal, is the group's first public communique in more than five years, since it gave up the violence it waged to achieve an independent Basque state in southern France and northern Spain.

Spain and France consider Eta to have been defeated and therefore refuse to engage in the disarmament process. In the letter, Eta accuses both governments of being "stubborn" and persisting in a "winners and losers scheme".

It also warns that the disarmament could still be derailed.

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