Talks at Bute House
Sturgeon to meet Catalan president in Edinburgh
Nicola Sturgeon: Bute House talks with Spanish delegation (pic by Terry Murden)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will meet Catalan President Quim Torra in Edinburgh next week, it has been disclosed.
The two will hold talks at Bute House on 11 July in the first high-level meeting between the Catalan and Scottish governments in 10 years.
Mr Torra will also meet the former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí and her lawyer, Aamer Anwar, the Catalan News Agency reports. Ms Ponsatí is currently fighting extradition to Spain in the Scottish courts.
The Crown Office will ask for the execution of the European Arrest Warrant against her. It will argue that the crime of rebellion for which Ms Ponsatí is wanted in Spain is equivalent to “conspiracy to alter the constitution by criminal means” and “treason” in Scotland.
Ms Ponsatí maintains her innocence and her defence team is committed to “defending her from extradition to Spain.”
In a statement MrAnwar’s office said: “Clara regards it as surreal that she is now accused of treason, when the Spanish State blames the Catalan government for executing a law that was voted on in the Catalan Parliament elected by the Catalan people.”
The last official government meeting between Catalonia and Scotland was in December 2008, when the then First Minister Alex Salmond visited Barcelona and met Catalan vice-president Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira.
Campaigners who fought for a referendum on Scottish independence distanced themselves from the Catalan situation after being warned by Madrid that supporting Barcelona could mean a veto to an independent Scottish state joining the EU.
More recently, Salmond met Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in London and Belgium. Ms Sturgeon also held talks with former Catalan leader Artur Mas in April this year.