MADRID - Basque armed separatists ETA have called a halt to 50 years of armed struggle, the group said Thursday in a statement published in Basque language newspaper Gara.
The announcement follows a peace conference in the Basque country on Monday when international leaders and ex-politicians appealed to ETA to end its fight to carve out an independent Basque homeland from areas of northern Spain and southern France.
"ETA has decided the definitive cessation of its armed activity. ETA calls upon the Spanish and French governments to open a process of direct dialogue with the aim of addressing the resolution of the conflict," the group said in a statement
Spain's interior ministry declined to comment immediately on ETA's announcement. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodgriquez Zapatero's office said on Twitter he would make an announcement at 1800 GMT.