The Basque separatist group ETA apologized Friday for the suffering caused by its decades-long campaign of violence to create an independent state and appealed to its victims for forgiveness.
“We have caused a lot of pain and irreparable harm. We want to show our respect to the dead, to the wounded and to the victims of the actions of ETA. ... We sincerely regret it,” the militant group said in a statement published by Basque newspapers Beria and Gara.
ETA is committed “to finally overcome the consequences of the conflict and to not fall into its repetition,’’ the statement said.
The statement comes as ETA, an acronym for the phrase “Basque Homeland and Liberty,” is expected to announce its final dissolution early next month.
ETA, designated a terrorist group by the U.S. government, has been blamed for the deaths of more than 850 people since the late 1960s in its quest for an independent homeland out of territory in northern Spain and southwestern France.
The group has been weakened by attrition and a string of high-profile arrests in the late 1990s and 2000s. The last known murder victim of ETA was a French police officer killed in Paris in 2010.