In Brief

Catalan government delays independence declaration

President Carles Puigdemont seeking negotiations with Spain over crisis

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has announced the suspension of his government’s declaration of independence to allow for negotiations with Spain over the disputed referendum.

“We propose the suspension of the effects of the declaration of independence for a few weeks, to open a period of dialogue. If everyone acts responsibly, the conflict can be resolved in a calm and agreed manner,” Puigdemont said.

The announcement followed the signing of a document declaring the region’s independence from Spain, which was due to be enacted on 10 October.

“Although Puigdemont stopped short of seeking the explicit support of the chamber for the declaration in a formal vote, his gambit plunges Spain into the unknown,” Sky News says.

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria reacted to the delay of the declaration, saying: “Neither Mr Puigdemont nor anybody else can claim... to impose mediation. Any dialogue between democrats has to take place within the law.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called an extraordinary cabinet meeting this morning “to address the latest moves in the crisis”, the BBC reports.

“Hours before the announcement, Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, appealed to Puigdemont to step back from a unilateral declaration of independence and begin dialogue with the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy,” The Guardian says.

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