An international meeting "primordial" in the peace process in the Basque Country will take place in early May in Franceannounced on Monday an international mediator at a time when the Basque separatist group ETA is preparing for its dissolution.
"We will hold a new international meeting on May 4, 2018 (...) which will be paramount in advancing the final peace process" said Raymond Kendall an expert from the International Contact Group (ICG) at a press conference in Bayonne (southwest of France).
The British mediator invited "all Basque civil and political organizations" to participate in this meeting that will take place in the Villa Arnaga, a house built by the writer Edmond Rostand author of "Cyrano de Bergerac", in the town of Cambo-les -Bains to "place a new milestone in the path of a just and lasting peace".
Created in 1959 under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco ETA resigned from the armed struggle in 2011 and is preparing to formally announce its dissolution on May 5 or 6.
"The statement that ETA is no longer going to be very clearI can not mention the words, but there will be no doubt for anyone," Alberto Spectorovsky, also a GIC membersaid on Thursdayfavor of a peace process in the Basque Country.
In a gesture prior to its expected dissolutionETA asked last week forgiveness to the victims for the "serious damage" caused during their armed struggle for the independence of the Basque Countryalthough their apologies addressed only to those affected "without responsibility" in the conflict generated controversy in Spain.
"We are really sorry" said the text broadcast almost 60 years after the organization's creation in 1959 which is credited with a history of bombings and assassinations that left at least 829 dead.
Also responsible for kidnappings and extortions Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basque Country and Eskera language freedom) simply asked for forgiveness specifically from those victims "who did not have a direct participation in the conflict".
"We apologize to these people and their families" said the text published on Friday by the Basque newspaper Gara.
- 'A just and lasting peace' -
After the apologies of ETAthe Spanish government guaranteed last Thursday in the voice of its interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido that the organization will not get "anything" in return.
"ETA has not achieved any of its great objectives for those who killed and planted terror in Spain ETA did not achieve anything to stop killing and nothing will get for his declaration of disappearance," said Zoido in a message sent to the press .
"The Government will always be on the side of the victims of terrorism and above all, also, to fight for the clarification of all the cases that still need to be resolved," he added.
"The Basques have shown a clear determination to advance in a goal of achieving a just and lasting peace," said Raymond at the press conference co-organized by the Permanent Social Forum, an organization close to the families of the prisoners, and Bake. Bidea, a civil movement for peace.
During the conference, in which the three organizations read the same text in three languages (Euskera, French and Spanish), the word dissolution or ETA was never pronounced.
ETA has about 300 members imprisoned in Spain, France and Portugal, between 85 and 100 in flight and a dozen people "expelled by France, without papers to Africa or Latin America," according to the Social Forum.
The Basque separatist group demands an approach of the prisoners to the prisons closest to the Basque Country and hopes to achieve a modification of the penitentiary policy with its dissolution.