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ETA calls an end to extortion

Source: The Associated Press - Thu 28th Apr 2011

Business associations in Spain's northern Basque and Navarra regions say they have received letters from the armed independence group ETA saying their members will no longer be subjected to extortion demands.

Navarra Business Confederation president Jose Antonio Sarria said Thursday his association was taking the letter seriously but warned that hopes of an end to ETA violence have been dashed before.

The Basque confederation received a similar letter.

ETA, which has killed 825 people since the 1960s, has long extorted businesses in the two regions to finance its campaign for an independent Basque homeland.

The group declared a cease-fire last September and termed it permanent in January but the government insists it must lay down arms.

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