Catalonia Suspends ‘Independence’ for Talks with Spain
The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, has pulled the region back from the brink of an unprecedented showdown with the Spanish government by proposing the suspension of a declaration of independence to allow for negotiations to resolve Spain's worst political crisis for 40 years. Addressing the Catalan parliament on Tuesday evening, Puigdemont said that, while the referendum earlier this month had given his government a mandate to create a sovereign republic, he would not immediately push ahead with independence from Spain. "We propose the suspension of the effects of the declaration of independence for a few weeks, to open a period of dialogue," he said. "If everyone acts responsibly, the conflict can be resolved in a calm and agreed manner." According to media reports, Catalonia is one of Spain’s wealthiest regions, accounting for a quarter of the country’s exports.