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ETA 'halts attacks' on elected officials

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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- The Basque separatist group ETA says it will no longer attack Spanish elected political officials, the Basque newspaper Gara has reported.

In a communique sent to the newspaper, ETA said that as of June 1 it had closed "the front against elected officials from Spain's political parties."

The group said the decision was motivated by "the political changes" it has recently observed.

The announcement said it was up to Madrid and Paris "to respond positively to the will shown by ETA in the last months."

Senior government officials had no immediate reaction.

The government recently won approval in parliament to hold talks aimed at ending more than three decades of violence -- under the condition that ETA renounce violence and lay down its arms.

The killing of several dozen Spanish political figures has prompted thousands of elected officials to travel with bodyguards.

Some observers in Spain said the announcement did not mean the group has renounced violence altogether. Its targets have also included journalists, police and military.

ETA, which stands for the Spanish equivalent of Basque Homeland and Freedom, is blamed for more than 800 killings since 1968. It wants an independent Basque homeland in an area that would include parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The European Union and the United States have listed ETA as a terrorist organization.

Last month, an ETA car bomb exploded in Madrid, slightly wounding several dozen people.

CNN's Al Goodman contributed to this story.

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