Span­ish face SNP crit­i­cism over Cata­lan ref­er­en­dum

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Femail - By Paul Ward

THE Scot­tish Govern­ment at­tacked its Span­ish coun­ter­parts yes­ter­day for re­fus­ing to grant Cat­alo­nia an in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

SNP Min­is­ters usu­ally main­tain a diplo­matic si­lence on the af­fairs of their fel­low sep­a­ratists, but spoke out yes­ter­day, with 700 may­ors fac­ing ar­rest for fa­cil­i­tat­ing the vote.

Cat­alo­nia’s re­gional govern­ment in­sists a vote will take place on Oc­to­ber 1, but the Span­ish govern­ment has vowed to block it, de­scrib­ing it as ‘un­con­sti­tu­tional’.

Fiona Hys­lop, Scot­land’s Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Sec­re­tary, said: ‘All peo­ples have the right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and to choose the form of govern­ment best suited to their needs.’

She added: ‘The de­ci­sion over Cat­alo­nia’s fu­ture di­rec­tion is a mat­ter for the peo­ple who live there, and the Cata­lan and Span­ish Gov­ern­ments are per­fectly en­ti­tled to take po­si­tions for and against in­de­pen­dence.

‘How­ever, all peo­ples have the right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and to choose the form of govern­ment best suited to their needs, a prin­ci­ple which is en­shrined in the UN Char­ter.

‘The Ed­in­burgh Agree­ment was an ex­am­ple of how two gov­ern­ments, with di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed views on whether or not Scot­land should be­come in­de­pen­dent, were able to come to­gether to agree a process to al­low the peo­ple to de­cide. It is es­sen­tial that democ­racy and civil rights are re­spected in all coun­tries.’

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