Bilbao, 21 February 2014
The International Verification Commission (IVC) was established on 28 September 2011 to verify the “permanent, general and verifiable ceasefire” declared by Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) on 10 January 2011 and its subsequent declaration of a “definitive end of violence” on 20 October 2011. Since its establishment, the Commission has verified that ETA has fulfilled its commitment to cease all assassinations, bombings, attacks, threats and extortion.
Throughout this period the IVC has worked closely with Basque political and social actors including the Basque Government, political parties, trade unions, Confebask (the Basque business association) and representatives of the Church. The IVC is grateful for their assistance and support in its task of verifying the ceasefire and the definitive end of violence.
During the Commission’s last visit in February 2013, exactly one year ago, the IVC observed the positive developments in the Basque Country and expressed hope that efforts to consolidate the end of violence would be intensified. In view of this, the IVC called on any and all relevant actors to take new steps and confidence building measures.
In April 2013, ETA confidentially requested the IVC to include in its mandate verifying a unilateral process of sealing and putting beyond operational use ETA’s arms, ammunition and explosives. The Commission agreed. In September 2013, ETA indicated to the IVC that it was ready to take a fist step in this process. This first step took place in January 2014, in the presence of the Commission.
The Commission has verified that ETA has sealed and put beyond operational use a specified quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives. A video record of this was taken. The detailed inventory of arms, ammunition and explosives put beyond operational use is attached.
The Commission is confident that this step is significant and credible. We believe it will lead to the putting beyond operational use all ETA’s arms, ammunition and explosives.
From our experience of other processes, making an inventory of, and putting beyond operational use, arms, ammunition and explosives, is a necessary stage prior to complete disarmament. We are confident that with the support of all political and social actors this can be achieved. The Commission will continue to work with determination and impartiality towards a durable peace.
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, 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, Coordinator of the IVC, 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.
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28 September 2011
Introduction by Ram Manikkalingam Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the inaugural meeting of the International Verification Commission. On behalf of my fellow commissioners, I would like to thank you for attending this meeting...
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