UK DOES NOT RECOGNISE CATALAN INDEPENDENCE
BRITAIN will not recognise the Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence from Spain, Downing Street has said. The comments came hours before separatist leader Carles Puigdemont called on Catalans to peacefully oppose Spain’s takeover.
He made the remarks in a staged appearance that appeared to convey he refuses to accept his firing, which was ordered by central authorities.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman said the declaration of independence was based on a vote which had been declared illegal and that the UK wanted to see the unity of Spain preserved.
“The UK does not and will not recognise the unilateral declaration of independence made by the Catalan regional parliament,” the spokesman said in a statement.
“It is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts. We continue to want to see the rule of law upheld, the Spanish constitution respected and Spanish unity preserved.”
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said: “The way this dispute has been turned into a binary choice between independence and direct rule is not going to end this crisis, and it is not what the majority in Catalonia and Spain actually want.
“They want a sensible, political dialogue about finding a resolution – and for that to be done in a fair and democratic way, in keeping with the rules and laws of the country.”
Yesterday Mr Puigdemont said in a brief statement that appeared to be pre-recorded that “we will continue working to build a free country”.
Spain’s La Sexta TV channel simultaneously showed live footage of Mr Puigdemont having lunch in a bar in central Girona, his hometown, occasionally interrupted by residents who asked him to pose for selfies.
Mr Puigdemont’s appearance on public regional TV3 broadcaster showed him speaking from a podium with the official emblem of the Catalan regional government. Behind him there were the Catalan and European Union flags.
Spain took formal direct control of Catalonia yesterday, dismissing the region’s defiant separatist government a day after lawmakers passed a declaration of independence for the prosperous northeastern region.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the declaration of independence had been caused by the “appalling behaviour” of the Spanish Govern- ment who had pushed Catalonia “too far”.
The Scottish Government’s External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop called for dialogue to end the crisis.
“We understand and respect the position of the Catalan government. While Spain has the right to oppose independence, the people of Catalonia must have the ability to determine their own future,” she said.
“Now, more than ever, the priority of all those who consider themselves friends and allies of Spain should be to encourage a process of dialogue to find a way forward that respects democracy and the rule of law.
“The imposition of direct rule cannot be the solution and should be of concern to democrats everywhere.”
Britain joined other leading international powers including the US, Germany and the EU in refusing to recognise the outcome of the Catalan independence vote.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sacked the Catalan government as part of the emergency measures following the region’s declaration of independence.
He said he was dissolving the Catalan parliament and calling for a new regional election on December 21.
Demonstrators hold Spanish flags and placards