World, Europe

Spain ends talks with Catalan separatist parties

Talks stalled due to parties’ insistence on holding independence referendum, says Spain's Deputy PM

Jeyhun Aliyev   | 09.02.2019
Spain ends talks with Catalan separatist parties Spain's deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo


By Senhan Bolelli


Spain's deputy prime minister announced Friday that the government was breaking off negotiations with Catalan pro-independence parties after they rejected the framework for the talks.

Following a Cabinet meeting, Carmen Calvo told a press conference the negotiations had stalled due to the parties’ insistence on holding an independence referendum, something she said would "never be acceptable".

She also said that solving the political situation in Catalonia should be based on lawful and democratic principles.

Calvo, however, noted that the government will not give up and will continue to pursue dialogue with the parties.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Twitter the government will never accept a referendum on self-determination and offered Catalonia "coexistence, dialogue and the law".

The socialist minority government, which has been in power for eight months, recently launched a "dialogue" initiative to find support for the 2019 state budget and to take a step towards resolving the Catalan problem.

Late Tuesday, the government released the text of a 21-article roadmap that was first proposed by Catalan President Quim Torra to Sanchez on Dec. 20.

Entitled “A state pact to resolve the conflict between Spain and Catalonia", the document touched on international mediation efforts and calls for negotiations between the Spanish and Catalan governments “on an equal footing”.

Spain dissolved the Catalan parliament after the Catalan government held an illegal independence referendum in October 2017.

Shortly afterward, then Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy implemented Article 155 of Spain’s constitution which allows Madrid to intervene in the internal affairs of the country’s autonomous regions.

Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont then fled Spain to Belgium before being briefly held in Germany for 12 days under an EU arrest warrant.

He returned to Brussels after his release, where he has been living in exile ever since.

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