Basque group ETA declares permanent ceasefire

The Basque separatist group ETA announced Wednesday that it would commence a permanent ceasefire this coming Friday. Classified as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, ETA seeks independence for the Basque region of northern Spain and southwest France. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said a permanent end to hostilities by ETA is a condition for any talks between the organization, blamed for over 800 deaths in four decades of activity, and the government. ETA previously declared a full ceasefire in 1998, but rescinded the truce a year later and renewed its bombing campaign.