Ex-Catalan leader calls for tabletalk

Carles Puigdemont says independence is their proposal, but not only solution
BERLIN: Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on Saturday called for political dialogue with the Spanish government following his conditional release from a German prison.
“Independence is not the only solution for us. We are ready to listen,” Puigdemont said in a news conference at Kreuzberg district in Berlin, a day after his release on bail on Friday.
He also called on the Spanish government to “respect democracy” and international treaties in its treatment of the region and its politicians.
“We want unconditional dialogue…We said that we are always ready for this. Independence is not the only solution. We are ready to listen. Independence is our proposal, but we can change our position in this regard,” Puigdemont added.
The separatist leader also said he wanted to return to Belgium at the end of German legal proceedings.
Puigdemont was arrested on March 25 in northern Germany, after Spanish authorities reactivated a European arrest warrant on charges of sedition, rebellion, and misuse of public funds.
The Higher Regional Court in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein ruled on Thursday that Spain’s extradition request based on charges of “corruption” was admissible, and said it would seek more information on these accusations.
However, the court ruled out Puigdemont’s extradition based on charges of “rebellion”, highlighting that it was not compatible with the German law.
The court ordered his release on a bail of €75,000 ($91,786).
The 55-year-old politician led a parliamentary session last year that saw separatist lawmakers vote for the region of Catalonia to declare independence from Spain.
He and 12 other separatist leaders were officially charged with rebellion.
Since October, Puigdemont was living in Belgium.–AA

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