Spanish PM meets Catalan president to defuse tensions

Sanchez has been in power for a month after overthrowing his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy in a key parliamentary vote he won with the help of Catalan separatists.

Spanish PM meets Catalan president to defuse tensions

World Bulletin / News Desk

Spain's new leader Pedro Sanchez on Monday meets separatist Catalan president Quim Torra for the first time in a bid to kickstart dialogue after the region's failed attempt at secession which sparked the country's worst crisis in decades.

Sanchez has urged Catalan separatist leaders to "turn the page" after Torra said he wanted another referendum on independence.

At the start of this month, six of the nine Catalan leaders held near Madrid were transferred to Catalonia to ease tensions ahead of Monday's talks in Madrid.

They include former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart of two pro-independence associations and Raul Romeva, the former Catalan government's international affairs chief.

Accused of rebellion along with deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont for their role in the region's proclamation of independence in October 2017, they face up to 25 years in jail.

Torra said the aim of the talks was to "find out the Socialists' view on the right of self-determination for Catalans."

The government has already rebuffed this with spokeswoman Isabel Celaa responding that the "right to self-determination does not exist in the constitution".

But a senior Catalan government official told AFP that they would bring this up at Monday's meeting, which starts at 0930 GMT.

Last Mod: 07 Temmuz 2018, 13:01
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