Disagreement must not prevent dialogue, Podemos leader tells president
Quim Torra meets with Pablo Iglesias, who stresses shared “republican values” as guarantee of Catalan-Spanish cooperation
Disagreement between the Catalan and Spanish governments over self-determination should “in no way prevent dialogue and exploring democratic means to manage the conflict in Catalonia.” That is the opinion of Podemos party leader, Pablo Iglesias, who on Monday met with Catalan president Quim Torra in Barcelona. Addressing the press after the meeting, Iglesias insisted that dialogue is all about talking “to those who do not think like you.”
Describing the hour and a half meeting in the Catalan government headquarters as “cordial,” the head of the left-wing Spanish party praised their shared “republican values,” despite their ideological differences, as the “best guarantee” that Catalonia and Spain “continue to walk side-by-side,” because they imply social justice and recognition of “plurinationality.” Iglesias also thanked Torra for his “total and unconditional readiness” to talk.
Iglesias wants to visit jailed Catalan leaders
According to Iglesias, one of Torra's main “concerns” at the meeting was the situation of jailed independence leaders awaiting trial for their part in the independence bid. For the Podemos leader, transferring the prisoners to Catalan jails would be a “first measure for easing tensions and for dialogue.” Iglesias also said he would like to visit the prisoners, “to establish a dialogue with the people deprived of their freedom.”
"The fact that [Podemos is] not part of the Spanish government does not mean we should underestimate the importance they might have"
Elsa Artadi · Catalan government spokeswoman
Government spokeswoman Elsa Artadi later expressed satisfaction that Iglesias shared the president’s understanding of the problems in Catalonia as “the regression of rights and freedoms, the existence of political prisoners and exiles, and repression.” Artadi also hoped that the Podemos leader would pass on his conclusions from the meeting to Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, before he himself meets with the Catalan president on July 9.
In fact, the spokeswoman confirmed that Torra and Iglesias had discussed the Catalan president’s upcoming meeting with Sánchez, and she insisted that Iglesias and his party could play an important role in the new stage that has opened up with the Spanish government. “The fact that they are not part of the Spanish government does not mean we should underestimate the importance they might have,” she said.