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Spain's Basque Separatists Declare Cease-Fire

Screen grab taken from Gara website displays an image of ETA armed Basque group members declaring a ceasefire on 5 Sept 2010, in the northern Spanish Basque town of Guernica.

The Basque separatist group ETA has issued a video declaring a cease-fire.

The video, posted Sunday on the website of the Basque newspaper Gara, shows three masked militants making a statement in the Basque language saying they were ending armed operations.

One of the rebels said ETA decided several months ago to lay down its arms to achieve its goals through a democratic process. It was not clear if the ceasefire is permanent or temporary.

The Spanish government did not immediately respond to the ETA statement. But the Basque regional government, now controlled by parties loyal to Madrid, says the cease-fire is not sufficient because ETA has not renounced violence.

ETA last announced a "permanent cease-fire" in March 2006. But nine months later the group claimed responsibility for a powerful car bomb at Madrid's Barajas airport that killed two people.

ETA linked that bombing to frustration over lack of progress in peace talks with the Madrid government.

ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths during a four-decade campaign for an independent Basque state in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. The European Union and the United States consider ETA a terrorist organization.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.