ETA, the Basque separatist group, is expected to turn over its remaining weapons next month, the Basque regional leader and a Basque activist said last week, a development that brought a cautious response by the Spanish government as the organization has not followed through on similar pledges in the past.
The Spanish government, which has called for the unilateral and unconditional dissolution of ETA, made disarmament an essential condition of its willingness to declare that the group had ended its five-decade campaign of terror, but experience led officials in Madrid to take a wait-and-see approach.
“ETA needs to disarm and dissolve itself — and that position has not changed, not even by a centimeter, in six years,” Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, the culture minister and the spokesman for the Spanish government, said at a news conference in Madrid on Friday.
ETA promised to hand over its weapons unconditionally by April 8, according to a report in Le Monde, the French newspaper, that was based on a statement provided by Jean Noël Etcheverry, a Basque separatist and environmentalist militant.
Iñigo Urkullu, the Basque regional government leader, said Friday in response to the Le Monde report that his Basque administration considered the weapons pledge from ETA to be credible and would do “all that is in our hands for the disarmament to come through well.”