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ETA tells Basque people its journey is over

Children play by a graffiti reading "ETA , Basque country and Freedom, in the memory and in the heart" in Sare, southwestern France. Picture by Bob Edme, File, Associated Press.

Separatist group ETA has said its journey and political activities have ended, a day after the organisation's intentions were leaked in a letter.

In an open letter to the Basque people published on Thursday by the Basque news website, 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 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 earlier called the disbanding of ETA "noise and propaganda", vowing to carry on prosecuting the militants.

Mr Rajoy said the group had failed to impose an independent Basque state.

"Whatever ETA does or says, it won't find any loophole for impunity," Mr Rajoy said. "ETA can announce its disappearance, but its crimes or the action of the judiciary won't disappear."

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