Spain gives Catalans till Thursday to clarify independence stance

Spain’s government said Monday Catalonia’s separatist leader had failed to clarify whether he had declared independence, urging him to say by Thursday whether he was maintaining his drive to break the region away from Spain.

“The government regrets that the president of the Catalan government has decided not to respond to the request made by the government,” deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told reporters.

“In an issue as important such as this all that was asked, and all we are asking for, is clarity,” she said, adding that Puigdemont had until Thursday at 10:00 am (0800 GMT) to make clear his intentions.

Last week Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government had set a Monday deadline for Puigdemont to explicitly say whether or not he proclaimed that Catalonia was breaking away from Spain.

In a letter sent to Rajoy, Puigdemont did not give a clear “yes” or “no” answer to the government’s question and called instead for two months of dialogue.

He also requested that Spanish authorities halt “all repression” in Catalonia and requested a meeting with Rajoy “as soon as possible”.

In a written response to Puigdemont, Rajoy said a clarification was “absolutely necessary”.

“I hope that in the hours that remain until the second deadline… you reply with all the clarity that citizens demand and the law requires,” Rajoy said in his letter.

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