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Spain's Basque Separatist Group Agrees to Peace Talks

The armed Basque separatist group, ETA, says it is willing to take part in peace talks with the Spanish government.

But Sunday's statement did not mention whether it will lay down arms as demanded by the government as a precondition for any talks.

The outlawed group's statement backed the recent peace initiative its political wing, Batasuna, presented to the Spanish parliament that would virtually grant independence to the country's northern Basque region. Opponents say the plan would open the way for secession by other areas of Spain.

In ETA's statement today it claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in recent months, but the it denied involvement in last month's bomb hoax at Real Madrid's soccer stadium.

ETA has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in its more than 30 year campaign for an independent Basque homeland.

Some information for this eport provided by AFP and Reuters.