MADRID – The Latest on the end of the militant Basque group ETA (all times local):
Separatist group ETA says its journey and political activities have ended, a day after the organization's intentions were leaked in a letter.
In an open letter to the Basque people published on Thursday by the Basque news website naiz.eus, the group said it has "completely dismantled all of its structures" and "will no longer express political positions, promote initiatives or interact with other actors," says the new letter.
ETA killed more than 850 people in its six decades of existence.
Former militants will keep on seeking a "reunited, independent, socialist, Basque-speaking and non-patriarchal Basque Country" but they will do it outside of ETA, the letter says.
It adds that a key challenge for left-wing Basque separatists "will be to bring into effect the right to decide, in order to achieve recognition of our nationhood."
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is calling the disbanding of ETA "noise and propaganda," vowing to carry on prosecuting the militants in the Basque separatist organization.
Speaking a day after an ETA letter emerged stating that it had "completely dissolved its structures," Rajoy said the group had failed in imposing through violence an independent Basque state.
A final public declaration from ETA, which Spain regards as a terrorist group, is expected later on Thursday.
"Whatever ETA does or says, it won't find any loophole for impunity," Rajoy said. "ETA can announce its disappearance, but its crimes or the action of the judiciary won't disappear."
ETA — which stands for "Basque Homeland and Freedom" — killed 853 people, most of them after Spain transitioned to democracy in the late '70s.