Spain vows ‘all options’ open in Catalonia crisis talks

| | Madrid

Spain’s Government vowed to examine “all options” on Wednesday in a crisis cabinet meeting hours after Catalonia’s leaders said they had a mandate to declare independence but put it on hold, plunging the country into uncertainty.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to do everything in his power to prevent the region’s independence in a dispute that has hurled Spain into its deepest political crisis in decades.

He has refused to rule out imposing direct rule over the semi-autonomous region — a move many fear could lead to unrest. Rajoy called an emergency meeting after Catalonia’s president Carles Puigdemont announced on Tuesday that he had accepted the mandate for “Catalonia to become an independent state” following a banned referendum earlier this month.

But in a parliamentary speech that left many confused, Puigdemont immediately called for Catalonia’s independence to be suspended to allow for negotiations with the Central Government.

Today, a Government source who refused to be named said “all options” were on the table as the crisis talks were under way. At stake is the future of a region of 7.5 million people deeply divided over independence, one of Spain’s economic powerhouses, whose drive to break away has raised concern for stability in the European Union.



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