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Catalan leader fails to clarify independence stance in letter to Spanish PM
October 16, 2017 / 7:36 AM / a month ago

Catalan leader fails to clarify independence stance in letter to Spanish PM

MADRID (Reuters) - Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on Monday failed to clarify whether he had declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain last week, paving the way for the central government to take control of the region and rule it directly.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont delivers a speech at the memorial of "Fossar de la Pedrera" (Pedrera mass grave) in Barcelona, Spain, October 15, 2017. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had given him until Monday 10:00 a.m. local (0800 GMT) to clarify his position - and until Thursday to change his mind if he insists on a split - and said Madrid would suspend Catalonia’s autonomy if he chooses independence.

In his letter to Rajoy, made public by local Catalan media, Puigdemont does not directly answer the question and says instead that the two should meet as soon as possible to open a dialogue over the next two months.

“Our offer for dialogue is sincere despite everything that has happened,” Puigdemont says in the letter.

Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by Paul Day

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