The International Verification Commission has announced the conclusion of its work in the Basque Country after ETA’s disarmament. The IVC has released a statement, to explain that “ETA has fulfilled its commitment to disarm” and therefore “the Commission now considers its work completed and hereby announces the conclusion of its activity.” Full statement below:
6 July 2017
The International Verification Commission (IVC) was established on 28 September 2011 to verify Euskadi Ta Askatasuna’s (ETA) end of violence. Working with Basque institutions and Basque civil society, the Commission verified that ETA had fulfilled its commitment to cease all violent actions.
In January 2014, the Commission was able to confirm that ETA had put beyond operational use a specified quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives. This was a first, small but significant step towards ETA’s disarmament.
On 8 April 2017, the Commission received, from Basque civil society representatives in France, information regarding the location of ETA’s weapons, ammunition and explosives. This information was conveyed to the relevant French authorities, who secured and collected ETA’s arsenal. Later that day, it was reported that French police had secured more than 3.5 tonnes of ETA materiel.
The handing over of weapons was described by then French Minister of Interior, Matthias Fekl, as a “great step” towards peace and security in Europe. Basque government President, Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, stated that it constituted a “fundamental step in the process of an ordered end of violence”.
In light of these developments, the Commission concludes that ETA has fulfilled its commitment to disarm.
The Commission now considers its work completed and hereby announces the conclusion of its activity.
The IVC would like to thank all the political and social actors who have made it possible for the Commission to fulfil its tasks. Since 2011, the Commission has worked closely with both the current and former Basque governments, political parties – Partido Nacionalista Vasco (EAJ-PNV), EH Bildu, Partido Socialista de Euskadi (PSE-EE) – trade unions – Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT), Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), Eusko Langileen Alkartasuna (ELA), Langile Abertzaleen Batzordeak (LAB) – the business confederation Confebask and representatives of the Basque Catholic Church. The Commission is grateful for their support and cooperation. In particular, the Commission appreciates the great trust placed by these actors in the IVC as it was embarking upon a difficult and challenging task with no assurance of success.
The Commission also wishes to thank the Basque Government, the Basque and Navarre parliaments and the Communauté Pays Basque for their official endorsement of the Commission’s role in the disarmament process. In particular, the Commission is grateful to Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, whose trust and collaboration has been key for the IVC since 2011. The IVC also values the efforts of the President of the Communauté and Mayor of Bayonne, Jean-René Etchegaray and the President of Navarre, Uxue Barkos, in the final phase of the disarmament process. The Commission would like to express its gratitude to the former Interior Minister of the Basque Government, Rodolfo Ares for his support and advice. The Commission would also like to express its thanks to the leader of Sortu, Rufi Etxeberria, for his efforts and support. Finally, the Commission would like to express its deep appreciation of the support extended to it by Paul Rios and Basque civil society organisation Lokarrithroughout this time.
The Commission is thankful for the opportunity to have contributed to this historic step for the future of Basque society. The IVC hopes and trusts that all the relevant political and social actors will continue working together to achieve the aspirations of Basque society for further consolidating peace and coexistence.
The Commission consists of the following members:
- Ronald Kasrils, former Minister of Intelligence and Deputy Defence Minister of South Africa.
- Chris Maccabe, former Political Director of the Northern Ireland Office of the United Kingdom.
- Ram Manikkalingam, Chairman of the IVC. Director of Dialogue Advisory Group and Professor at Amsterdam University, and former Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka for negotiations with the Tamil Tigers.
- Satish Nambiar, former Deputy Chief of the Indian Army and former Commander and Head of Mission of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia in 1992 and 1993.
- Fleur Ravensbergen, Assistant Director of Dialogue Advisory Group.
- Aracelly Santana, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of Mission, United Nations Mission in Nepal (UMIN) and former Director, Americas Office in the United Nations Department of Political Affairs.