ETA to lay down arms

Basque separatists declare an end to 40 years of violence

ETA, a Basque separatist group that waged a decades-long campaign to carve a homeland from parts of Spain and France, declared a “definitive cessation of armed activity” Thursday, bringing to end a conflict that claimed more than 800 lives. The breakthrough, hailed by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as a “victory for democracy,” came after a one-day meeting Monday with international figures including key representatives from former Irish paramilitary groups. “Ours will be a democracy without terrorism,” said Zapatero, who led a crackdown on the ETA shortly after his election in 2004, “but not without memory.”