The Basque terrorist organisation ETA will hand over its remaining weapons by Saturday, April 8, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday, quoting French Basque militant Txetx Etcheverry, who said: "ETA has given us the responsibility of disarming its arsenal and, by the evening of April 8, ETA will be totally disarmed".
Spanish government spokesman Iñigo Méndez de Vigo said during a press conference on Friday afternoon that "ETA must be disarmed and dissolved. The government has not changed its position in the last six years".
The First Minister of the Basque Country, Iñigo Urkullu, said that his regional government "gives credibility to the disarmament of ETA in the short term", adding that "we have contributed to that option".
Mr. Etcheverry and four other activists were arrested by French and Spanish police in the French town of Louhossoa in January after offering to mediate in the disarmament process.
The Spanish Home Office said at the time that they had been arrested for staging "a propaganda stunt around the handover of weapons". A protest was organised in the French town of Bayonne to demand their release.
EH Bildu member Arnaldo Otegi said on Friday that the news published by Le Monde was "credible" and that "we hope, this time, there is total disarmament […] and that everyone can live up to that".
Alfonso Alonso, a former Health Minister in Mariano Rajoy's first government and the current chairman of the Popular Party in the Basque Country, tweeted that: "ETA is finished. This is another episode in the end of ETA, which has been defeated. They need to announce their dissolution and show their regret".
In February, ETA member David Pla—designated by the terrorist group as their "conflict resolution spokesman"—gave an interview to Basque newspaper Gara from prison, in which he stated that the group had "given its word" that disarmament would take place.
He said the participation of civil society in the process had been "decisive" and accused the French and Spanish states of wanting to perpetuate the conflict.
Following the arrest of the five men in France in December, Spanish Home Secretary Juan Ignacio Zoido defended the "orderly" official disarmament of ETA by the Spanish Civil Guard.
The Spanish Home Office declined repeated requests to comment further on the Le Monde story on Friday.