Basque ETA militants confirm start to putting arms beyond members' reach, vow to finish effort

The Basque separatist group ETA confirms it has begun to store weapons beyond its members' reach in a process that it says eventually will involve its entire arsenal.

ETA issued its first statement following a Feb. 21 announcement by international observers that ETA had allowed them to inspect a small cache of weapons being "sealed" by unspecified means in an undisclosed location. Spain dismissed the move as meaningless theater.

ETA did not mention Spain's dismissive position in its statement published Saturday in the Gara newspaper. It vowed to continue to work with the six-member team of inspectors "to the end."

ETA seeks to create an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwest France. The outlawed group killed about 830 people, mostly in Spain, from 1968 to a 2011 cease-fire.