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Catalan boss thanks UK PM for vote support

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Catalan boss thanks UK PM for vote support
The Catalan President called on the Spanish government to 'listen to the voice of the people'. Photo: LLUIS GENE/AFP
11:24 CEST+02:00
The President of Spain's Catalonia region Artur Mas has thanked UK Prime Minister David Cameron for "understanding" Catalonia's desire to hold a referendum on independence. Mas also held up the Scottish consultation process on independence as an example to follow.

The president of the autonomous region made the comments on Thursday as part of a speech celebrating the 10th anniversary of Spanish telecommunications operator Telefonica's R&D Centre in Barcelona, according to press agency EFE.

Mas lauded Cameron's "understanding" and thanked him for supporting the Catalan assembly's proposal to hold an independence referendum.

The regional president has previously promised to let the people of Catalonia vote on independence in 2014. 

In his speech, Mas also referred to a statement made by Cameron in London on Thursday.

In that statement, the British Prime Minister noted that although he wasn't in a position to tell the Spanish people what to do, Spain couldn't "can't ignore questions of  nationality or independence," alluding to the situation in Catalonia.

The Catalan President said, "It's not the first time that I have to thank Mr. Cameron for his words."

He added: "I did it a few months ago by letter, for his calm, courageous and positive reflections."

Mas expressed his belief that the dialogue and negotiation shown by Cameron in the UK over Scotland's independence referendum is an example of "how it should be" in Spain.

"Although it is too much to hope, I hope that this kind of reflection happens within the Spanish state and that they realize that, in the end, the best way to put an end to these conflicts is to listen to the voice of the people", he said.

Catalonia is home to 7.5 million of Spain's 47 million people. It accounts for more than a fifth of Spain's economic output and a quarter of its exports.

Proud of their distinct language and culture, many Catalans resent seeing their taxes redistributed to other regions of Spain at a time of recession and spending cuts

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