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Catalonia appeals to Putin and Trump in bid for foreign mediation

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Catalonia appeals to Putin and Trump in bid for foreign mediation
Quim Torra and Pedro Sanchez met in July, 2018. Photo: AFP
14:31 CEST+02:00
Catalonia's separatist leader urged Madrid to consider foreign mediation in the conflict over his region's demand for independence, in a letter made public Thursday and also sent to Russia, China and others.

Media published the leaked letter addressed by Quim Torra to the Spanish government. Copies were also sent to the presidents of several countries that have faced violent separatist crises.

Torra formally asked the Spanish government "to enter mediated dialogue as quickly as possible" over the independence dispute.   

"You may also wish to suggest one or more institutional mediators and observers to facilitate the substantive dialogue process," Torra wrote in the letter, written in English and dated September 26th.

Catalonia's drive for independence sparked a political crisis in Spain a year ago.

Torra is pushing for the right to stage a legally-binding independence referendum for the northeastern region. 

His letter was published in Catalan media and confirmed as authentic to AFP by a regional government spokeswoman.   

It was addressed to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez with copies sent to 43 other international and regional leaders.   

They included Xi Jinping, president of China. His country has regional issues of its own in Tibet and the far-west Xinjiang region, where Beijing is cracking down on what it calls separatist elements.

Torra also sent the letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who led a war against separatists in Chechnya.

A Catalan regional government source said Torra had sent the letter to Putin, Xi and US President Donald Trump because their countries were permanent members of the UN's Security Council.

But he did not send it to Emmanuel Macron, president of France which is also one such member.

Catalan separatist leaders declared unilateral independence on October 27th last year.

Spain's conservative government responded by sacking the region's government and dissolving its parliament.   

Torra called on Sanchez in the letter to ask prosecutors to drop the charges against Catalan leaders detained during that crisis.

READ MORE: Is Carles Puigdemont about to win a Nobel Peace Prize?

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