October 19, 2019 / 1:55 PM / 23 days ago

Spanish PM tells Catalan leader to denounce violence

Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez holds a news conference at the end of the European Union leaders summit dominated by Brexit, in Brussels, Belgium October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday dismissed a call for dialogue from Catalonia’s regional chief, telling him he must first condemn the separatist unrest that is roiling Barcelona.

“Mr Torra must strongly condemn the violence, which he has not done so far,” Sanchez said in a statement after the pro-separatist Quim Torra called on the central government to hold talks to try to find a way out of the crisis.

Sanchez also urged Torra to acknowledge the many Catalans who do not want independence for the wealthy northeastern region and who are “asking him to rebuild the coexistence damaged by the independence movement”.

He reiterated his Socialist party line that Catalonia would not be granted independence “because it is not legal”.

Reporting by Jessica Jones, Editing by Crispian Balmer

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