Spain says Catalan independence response unclear

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LUXEMBOURG, Oct 16: Catalonia’s separatist leader has not given Madrid the clear answer it wanted over whether or not he has declared independence, the Spanish foreign minister said Monday.

In response to a deadline set by the central government to clarify an ambiguous independence speech last week, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont wrote a letter calling for talks to settle Spain’s worst political crisis in a generation.

Madrid has threatened to impose direct rule over semi-autonomous Catalonia if it declares independence based on a hotly-disputed October 1 referendum.

“It’s clear Mr Puigdemont has not responded, has not given the clarity we asked of him,” said Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis on arriving for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

“I think it (the letter) does not constitute a response to the formal request” for clarity made by the Spanish government, he said.

Dastis said he thought the letter showed that “the most radical elements” had the upper hand in the Catalan administration.

European Union officials are watching developments in Catalonia closely amid fears that Catalan independence could put further strain on the bloc as it grapples with Britain’s shock decision to leave.

(Copyright National News Agency / AFP)

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