Catalonian regional government president Carles Puigdemont. Picture: AFP/Pau BarrenaSource:AFP. CATALONIA'S regional leader ...
16 October 2017: Responding to a Monday morning deadline set by Madrid, Catalonia's separatist leader Carles Puigdemont said he wanted to "suspend" taking any steps towards Catalan independence for two months to allow time for talks with Spain's central government.
Spain had set a Monday deadline for Carles Puigdemont to explicitly say whether or not he proclaimed that Catalonia was breaking away from Spain.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had demanded that Puigdemont answer the question, "Have you declared independence in Catalonia?" with a simple "Yes" or "No", and that any ambiguous response would be considered a confirmation that a declaration of independence had been made.
Puigdemont held a banned independence referendum on October 1 and then made an ambiguous declaration of independence last week. He then immediately suspended the declaration to allow more time for talks and mediation.
In Monday's letter, Puigdemont called for two more months of dialogue and requested that Spanish authorities halt "all repression" in Catalonia.
Puigdemont also called for a meeting with Rajoy "as soon as possible".
"Let's not let the situation deteriorate further. With good will, recognising the problem and facing it head on, I am sure we can find the path to a solution," he wrote in the letter to Rajoy.
Spanish news agency Efe cited Spain's Justice Minister Rafael Catala as saying that Puigdemont's response was "not valid".