Catalan president Quim Torra has sent a letter to his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, as well as world leaders, asking for international mediation to negotiate an independence referendum.

Recipients include the President of the United States, Donald Trump, the President of China, Xi Jinping, and the head of the Catholic church, Pope Francis, as well as several European prime ministers.

Torra urges Sánchez to start negotiations on an agreed vote on independence, and to suggest mediators or observers to facilitate the dialogue between both parts. “It is obviously in the interests of both sides, and of the world, for this process to succeed, since an orderly and peaceful resolution of the situation is the only means remaining to avert a European crisis” reads the letter.

Common ground

For years, pro-independence parties demanded a referendum. Last October, the government led by the then-president Carles Puigdemont defied court rulings to hold a vote and subsequently declare independence. In response, Spain imposed direct rule in Catalonia and sacked Puigdemont’s executive. Nine politicians and activists are held in pre-trial jail, while seven went on exile abroad.

Should pro-independence leaders be sentenced to prison, warns Torra, public demands for independence “will become overwhelming”.

Relationships between governments in Catalonia and Spain have improved since pro-independence parties helped oust president Mariano Rajoy and replace him for the Socialist Pedro Sánchez. Yet, finding common ground in the issue of self-determination remains complicated.

In the letter, Torra urges Sánchez to interfere in the judicial process by asking the public prosecutor—appointed by him—to drop criminal charges against Catalan leaders. All imprisoned officials, as well as some of the political leaders abroad, are accused of violent rebellion. If found guilty, they could face prison sentences of up to 30 years.

Per a VilaWeb el vostre suport ho és tot

Si podeu llegir VilaWeb és perquè milers de persones en són subscriptors i fan possible que la feina de la redacció arribe a les vostres pantalles.

Vosaltres podeu unir-vos-hi també i fer, amb el vostre compromís, que aquest diari siga més lliure i independent. Perquè és molt difícil de sostenir un esforç editorial del nivell de VilaWeb, únicament amb la publicitat.

Som un mitjà que demostra que el periodisme és un combat diari per millorar la societat i que està disposat sempre a prendre qualsevol risc per a complir aquest objectiu. Amb rigor, amb qualitat i amb passió. Sense reserves.

Per a vosaltres fer-vos subscriptor és un esforç petit, però creieu-nos quan us diem que per a nosaltres el vostre suport ho és tot.

Vicent Partal
Director de VilaWeb