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Non-secessionist solution to Catalan crisis ‘possible’
November 14, 2017
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MADRID: Catalonia’s deposed president said he might consider a solution to Spain’s political crisis that did not involve the region’s secession, appearing to soften the staunchly pro-independence stance that cost him his leadership last month.

In an interview with Belgian daily Le Soir, Carles Puigdemont was asked if a non-secessionist option was on the table to resolve a crisis triggered when Spain took over control of the region after its parliament declared independence on Oct.27.

“I’m ready, and have always been ready, to accept the reality of another relationship with Spain ... It (another solution) is still possible,” Puigdemont said.

“I have, being pro-independence all my life, worked for 30 years to have another way of Catalonia being anchored to Spain,” he added, giving no details of what form such a relationship could take.

He posted a link to the interview, which was published on Monday, on his Twitter feed.

The former president is in self-imposed exile in Belgium after running an independence campaign that prompted authorities in Madrid to fire his cabinet, dissolve the regional parliament and call new elections for December.

Russian meddling

Spain on Monday raised the issue of “disinformation and manipulation” emanating from Russia during the Catalan independence crisis, at a meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers.

Madrid had said on Friday it was concerned by Russian social media activity on Catalonia, after misleading reports and images shared widely online helped fuel the standoff triggered by the banned Oct.1 independence referendum.

It is just the latest issue linked to Russian interference through social media. There have also been accusations of Russian involvement in the election of US President Donald Trump and in the campaign ahead of Britain’s Brexit vote.

EU ministers are now expected to increase resources for countering Russian disinformation campaigns.

“I will raise the question of how misinformation and manipulation around the referendum and subsequent events in Catalonia have developed,” Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said.

Reuters/AFP

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