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Thursday, September 17, 1998 Published at 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK

World: Europe

ETA communique: Highlights

In the communique ETA reasserts its demand for independence

The Basque separatist guerrilla group, ETA, issued a four-page communique late on Thursday evening declaring a unilateral ceasefire.

In the communique, ETA says it is convinced that the Basque Country faces a unique opportunity to move towards its sovereignty.

A cross-party agreement was recently signed in the Basque Country, reached by representatives of some Basque parties and ETA's political wing, Herri Batasuna.

ETA believes the agreement opens the door to Basque society taking the leading role.

The statement says: "After two long decades we once again have the opportunity to take decisive steps towards independence.

"We think we have an opportunity similar to the one we had 20 years ago during the transition (from General Franco's dictatorship), but this time we must ensure that the policy (produces) sovereignty.

"ETA faces this new political climate full of hope, especially because we are convinced the errors committed at that (transitional) stage were excellent lessons."

Demand for Basque independence

ETA urges the Basque people to assume their responsibility on the road to independence by promoting agreements and creating common dynamics.

ETA urges the breaking of the pacts and bonds with Madrid and Paris and the creation of a single and sovereign institution for the whole of the Basque Country

"We should not let the new opportunity before us blind us. The situation in which the Basque people are living is very serious.

"Basque citizens are being subjugated by two strong states (France and Spain).

"Both states use their arms, politics, economics and culture to prevent the Basque people from being free in the future. As a result, the obstinate activity of Spain and France has left painful wounds. And it won't be easy to achieve our liberty.

"Until today we have shown the world we are capable of struggling for our own (aims). Therefore let us show that from here on we have the right, the will and the ability to organise our home in the way we choose."

"Thanks to the generous commitment of thousands of bold men and women we are at the threshold of gaining our freedom."

Willingness for talks

The communique suggests that ETA is willing to enter peace talks.

"ETA has taken its step. Now it is time for the others to move into the space we have created. And it is up to everyone to confront those who continue to be enemies of this project.

"ETA calls on the public, political parties, unions and the Basque people to make the necessary commitment and take concrete steps to ensure we head towards sovereignty."

"If the different social and political parties join forces ... ETA will assume the public commitment to reinforce, defend and applaud it."

Declaring indefinite ceasefire

ETA declares cessation of all armed attacks from Friday midnight.

"Given the opportunity and desire to march towards sovereignty, ETA will begin an indefinite end to armed actions, limiting itself to working on the supply and maintenance of its infrastructure, and reserves the right to defend itself against possible attacks."

"The total ceasefire will begin on September 18."

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