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News Worms


Spain vows 'all options' open in Catalonia crisis talks

Spain vows 'all options' open in Catalonia crisis talks

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria described Puigdemont as someone "who does not know where he is, where he's going". However, he added that Barcelona delayed any declaration of independence in order to continue talks with Madrid.

Crowds of thousands gathered outside the parliament building in Barcelona on Tuesday ahead of Puigdemont's speech, waving Catalan flags and banners and screaming "democracy" in the hope of witnessing history in the making.

The Spanish government has rejected calls for mediation from Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who signed a statement of independence for the province but put the announcement on hold.

Mr Rajoy said his government had asked the regional government to clarify whether or not it had declared independence.

"I propose suspending the effects of the declaration of independence to undertake talks in the coming weeks without which it is not possible to reach an agreed solution", he told MPs.

Rajoy gave Puigdemont until Monday to clarify whether the declaration of independence is real - and, if it is, until October 19, eight days from now, to either back down or be deposed.

But Spain's political establishment rounded on Puigdemont following his declaration, and support among separatists in Catalonia was mixed. However, Rajoy did not specify whether Madrid would assume direct control of Catalonia.

There is no suggestion that the crisis could degenerate into an armed conflict but it could damage the region and Spain as a whole economically, bringing new instability to the eurozone.

In Brussels, there was a sense of relief that the euro zone's fourth-largest economy now had at least bought some time to deal with a crisis that was still far from over.

The European Union called on the regional and central authorities to abstain from violence and solve the issue through dialogue.

Catalonia is a region in north-east Spain.

Demands for independence in Catalonia, which has its own language and cultural traditions, date back centuries.

Spain has been in turmoil since a disputed referendum on October 1 which was declared invalid by the country's Constitutional Court.

Leaders of Catalonia say the referendum results were 90 percent in favor of secession, but with a turnout of about half of registered voters - and massive street protests in favor of unity came a week after the vote.

"We call on worldwide states and organisations to recognise the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state", he said.

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