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France calls for 'dissolution' of ETA Basque separatists

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-05-29

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls (centre) called for the "complete dissolution" of Basque separatist group ETA and for joint action against the rebels following talks on Tuesday with his Spanish counterpart Jorge Fernandez Diaz.

AFP - France called Tuesday for the "complete dissolution" of armed Basque separatist group ETA, which has announced an end to four decades of violence blamed for 829 killings.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said France and Spain must further their joint fight against ETA, which is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union.

The two countries must cooperate in the effort "until the complete dissolution of ETA," he told a news conference after meeting with his Spanish counterpart Jorge Fernandez Diaz.

"France and Spain will continue to work with the same determination that led to the military and police defeat of ETA," he said, warning that the authorities must not "drop their guard".

It was Valls' first visit to Spain since President Francois Hollande took power earlier this month.

ETA announced in October last year the "definitive" end to a campaign of bombings and shootings to try to carve out a independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France.

Despite the announcement, ETA has neither surrendered its weapons nor disbanded, however.

ETA is pressing for direct talks with France and Spain.

But both governments, whose police cooperated closely in making a series of arrests of ETA's top leadership in past years, have rejected negotiations and called for the group to disband.

In the latest swoop on Sunday, French police arrested ETA military leader Oroitz Gurruchaga Gogorza and his deputy Xabier Aramburu in an operation with Spanish police in the southwestern French village of Cauna.

Date created : 2012-05-29

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