Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says the government will not engage in dialogue with “those who try to achieve it through illegal means,” but opened the door to constitutional reform.
Addressing parliament following Catalonia’s suspended declaration of independence, he said “it is not possible to accept, under the guise of dialogue, the imposition of views that become impossible to accept.”
“Nor can we negotiate on the sovereignty of the whole of Spain and the indivisibility of the Spanish nation,” he added.
While ruling out dialogue over independence, he said he was open to reforming the constitution.
“It is not a perfect law and can be modified.”
The prime minister said independence “is about to put an end to the best time in Catalonia in all its history”, as he called for the recovery of “our peaceful existence.”
The speech, which began at 4pm CEST, came just hours after Rajoy asked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont for more clarity on his suspended declaration of independence.
He accused Puigdemont of creating “deliberate confusion” and said he wanted to discern “whether they (Catalan leaders) have or will make an independence declaration” before taking further measures.
Concerning article 155, a constitutional clause which would allow Madrid to enforce direct rule, Rajoy said his government would base its response on an answer from Catalonia.
Puigdemont made a highly-anticipated address to Catalonia’s parliament on Tuesday evening (October 10) in which he announced independence but said it would not be implemented immediately, allowing for talks with the national government in Madrid.
You can re-watch the speech in full here: