Catalan president Quim Torra came out of his first meeting with the head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, calling the encounter “long, sincere and productive” and that it had allowed the two leaders to “compare the vision” that each has of Catalonia. Talking to the press after the meeting on Monday afternoon, Torra also insisted that he told Sánchez that any solution to the political conflict “has to include the right to self-determination.”

In what he described as a frank encounter, Torra said that “throughout the meeting President Sánchez listened and took notes” and he also celebrated that the Spanish president admitted that the Catalan conflict is “political and needs to be solved by political means.”

The Catalan president said he told his counterpart that he “can’t give up on the right to self-determination, as it belongs to the people.”

Political prisoners

Going into Monday’s meeting, the Catalan president had insisted that the issues he most wanted to discuss with Sánchez would be self-determination and the jailed political leaders.

According to Torra, as well as telling his opposite number that his government “is not giving up in any way on achieving independence” he insisted “there are political prisoners” but without pressing the issue further, as “the prisoners cannot be the object of political negotiation.”

No invite for King

Yet, Torra said he took a harder line in insisting that the Catalan authorities “will not invite the king to the events to commemorate the terror attacks of August 17 in Barcelona and Cambrils.”

There was controversy last month over King Felipe’s refusal to condemn violence against voters in the independence referendum on October 1, with the palace also turning down Torra’s request to meet the king when the Spanish monarch came for the opening ceremony of the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona.

Next meeting in Barcelona

Nevertheless, Torra’s conclusion on his first official meeting with Pedro Sánchez was largely positive, with the president praising the frankness of an encounter in which the two leaders were able to openly discuss a range of topics.

Another positive point for Torra was Sánchez’s willingness to follow the meeting up with another in Catalonia. “We have established a bilateral relationship that will continue in another meeting to be held as soon as possible in Barcelona,” said Torra.

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