Madrid, MINA – Pulling back from announcing separation from Spain, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said on Tuesday that while he supports an independence declaration, one should be held off “for a few weeks” to allow for dialogue and mediation.
“I assume the mandate of the people that Catalonia be converted into an independent state in the form of a republic,” he told the Catalan parliament.
He added: “We are suspending the declaration of independence for a few weeks, as we want a reasonable dialogue, mediation with the Spanish state.”
“We have to continue working together… the way to advance cannot be any other way than through democracy and peace,” he said.
The original speech had been delayed for an hour. Catalan government spokesperson Joan Maria Pique told Anadolu Agency that the Catalan leader had delayed the speech in light of a last-minute contact regarding “international mediation.”
This dramatic speech followed pleas from Europe and countries around the world requesting dialogue and compromise between the Catalan and Spanish governments.
“I appeal to Puigdemont not to announce a decision that would make dialogue impossible. Let’s always look for what unites us,” tweeted Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, on Tuesday.
Thousands of separatists were amassed outside of the Catalan parliament during Puigdemont’s speech. While parts of the speech were met by applause, many were likely disappointed by his putting off any declaration.
Today’s announcement comes just over a week since the Catalan government held a controversial independence referendum marked by police violence, a poll illegal under Spanish law.
Although turnout was only 43 percent, 90 percent of Catalan voters said Yes to an independent Catalan Republic, leading Catalan’s government to announce that the region had won the right to become an independent state.
“The Spanish government will defend democracy,” said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria around an hour before Puigdemont planned to speak.
Throughout this unprecedented political crisis, the Spanish government has insisted that it will not negotiate with the separatists until they start obeying the law. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)