Catalan separatists on Tuesday signed what they called a declaration of independence from Spain to cheers and applause in the regional parliament—but Catalonia's president said he would delay implementing it for several weeks to give dialogue a chance. Spain, however, called an emergency Cabinet meeting for Wednesday morning and gave little indication it is willing to talk, the AP reports. In his highly anticipated speech, regional President Carles Puigdemont said the landslide victory in a disputed Oct. 1 referendum gave his government the grounds to implement its long-held desire to break century-old ties with Spain.
Puigdemont proposed that the regional parliament "suspend the effects of the independence declaration to commence a dialogue." "We have to listen to the voices that have asked us to give a chance for dialogue with the Spanish state," he said. Thousands of people watching his speech on a big screen in Barcelona were euphoric at first but disappointed when he said the declaration would be suspended, the BBC reports. The central government in Madrid responded that it did not accept the declaration of independence and did not consider the referendum to be valid. Puigdemont "doesn't know where he is, where he is going, and with whom he wants to go," said Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.
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