Spanish top diplomat points to improved situation in Catalonia

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Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell


© AP Photo/Francisco Seco

MADRID, November 6. /TASS/. The situation in the Spanish province of Catalonia has significantly improved thanks to the resumption of dialogue between the central government and regional authorities, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, told TASS.

According to him, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, “made it clear to the Catalan authorities that he was ready to launch a frank, honest and open dialogue based on the country’s laws and Constitution.”

“The government will keep doors for dialogue open, which is what the situation lacked before,” the Spanish top diplomat noted. “Since the partial re-launch of dialogue, the situation has greatly improved,” he said.

Borrell pointed out that it was impossible to carry out a referendum on the independence of Catalonia as not only such a plebiscite “lacks the support of the majority of the Spanish public opinion but it also cannot be conducted in accordance with the current Constitution.”

“Nevertheless, the prime minister expressed readiness to consider the possibility of holding a referendum on improving Catalonia’s autonomy,” the Spanish foreign minister noted. “Unfortunately, the Catalan authorities rejected the initiative though recent opinion polls show that only 42% of Catalonia’s population support the idea of a referendum on independence, while far more Catalans want a wider autonomy,” Borrell said.

Catalonia crisis

On October 1, 2017, a referendum on seceding from Spain took place in Catalonia. A total of 90.18% of the voters said “yes” to Catalonia’s independence. Madrid said the referendum was illegal and refused to recognize its results. On October 27, the Catalan parliament passed a declaration of independence. The Spanish Senate, in turn, approved the government’s request for activating Article 155 of the country’s Constitution, which allows Madrid to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy.

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