MADRID — The Spanish government on Wednesday insisted Basque separatist group ETA must disband unconditionally, rebuffing its pressure for direct talks with Spain and France.
ETA announced in a statement released in France that it had set up a delegation for direct negotiations between its leaders and the French and Spanish governments.
ETA announced an end to its armed independence struggle in last October, but has failed to convince Madrid and Paris to meet with what the governments still regard as a terrorist organisation.
"The only news we are waiting for is the unconditional disbandment" of ETA, Spain's Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said in parliament, reiterating Spain's long-held stance.
"There has not been, nor will there be, any political negotiations," the minister added, ruling out amnesties or mass regrouping for jailed ETA members, some of whom are held in prisons far from the Basque Country.
ETA is blamed for 829 killings during a four-decade armed campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France.
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