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Spain's ETA declares a permanent ceasefire

MADRID, March 22 (UPI) -- The Basque separatist group ETA announced a permanent ceasefire Wednesday, ending decades of fighting that claimed more than 800 lives.

The ceasefire is officially set to start on Friday, El Mundo newspaper reported in its online edition.

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ETA issued a statement saying the truce would "promote a democratic process in the Basque country" and called on the Spanish and French governments to end their repression of the separatist movement.

Since the 1960s, ETA has been fighting for a separate homeland straddling the Spanish-French border. In recent years, the group has carried out a number of bombings, though no one has been killed in an ETA attack for several years.

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