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Rajoy accepts meeting new Catalan president Quim Torra

Spanish president says they can only talk about issues "within the law"

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15 May 2018 07:32 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, on Tuesday agreed to meet with the newly elected Catalan president Quim Torra, but on condition that the talks only be about issues "within the law." In a major development in the relationship between Catalonia and Spain, Rajoy said he will accept a meeting if Torra officially asks for one.

The Spanish president’s decision came after Torra asked him to "set a date and place" to meet. The Catalan president was in Berlin meeting with his predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, and both men appealed to Rajoy to engage in dialogue. Rajoy said dialogue "was not easy" with Puigdemont and that he would listen "with interest" to what Torra has to say.

Rajoy also insisted that he will work to find "harmony" in the country and that his position on independence is well known and hasn't changed. The Spanish leader also stressed that there could only be "one president" in Catalonia.

The Spanish president, in a press conference from Sofia, Bulgaria, also mentioned Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. The suspension of Catalan self-government is expected to be lifted as soon as the new executive takes office. However, today Rajoy and the leader of the Socialist party in Spain, Pedro Sánchez, agreed that control of Catalan finances should continue, with monthly checks on spending and debt.

Tomorrow, Rajoy is meeting the leader of Ciutadans, Albert Rivera, who wants Article 155 to continue in Catalonia, as he argues that the new government will defy Madrid again. "We've worked correctly in the past and we'll continue this path in the future. The most important issue is that all of us that defend the unity of the nation stay together," Rajoy said.

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  • The Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, in the Senate on May 8, 2018 (by Tània Tàpia)

  • The Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, in the Senate on May 8, 2018 (by Tània Tàpia)

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