Spanish Foreign Affairs minister urges all ambassadors to stand up to Catalans 'lies'
Josep Borrell says diplomats should intervene when Catalan government officials "furiously attack" Spain's image abroad
The Spanish Foreign Affair Minister, Josep Borrell, has urged all Spanish diplomats to stand up to Catalans "lies" and "furious attacks" on Spain made from abroad.
Last week, President Quim Torra and all the Catalan delegation taking part in the inauguration of the Smithsonian Festival, in Washington, left the reception after what they described as an "insulting" speech made by Spanish ambassador Pedro Morenés.
Morenés denied there are political prisoners in Spain and accused Torra of lying for saying so.
According to the Spanish Foreign Affairs minister Borrell, the ambassador speech was appropriate. "He did what he had to do, and he said what he had to say," Borrell stated.
"Do you think the ambassador of the US, France, Germany or any other democratic country would have put up with someone saying that in their country there are political prisoners and that human rights are not respected, all those silly things that we have heard so many times? No. An ambassador stands up, asks to speak and, politely, says that this is a lie," Borrell said.
The minister also justified the attitude of Spanish consul in Stuttgart, Carlos Medina, who on Tuesday tried to stop a political speech by Catalan Vice President Pere Aragonès during an event of the so-called Four Motors of Europe group. The group is made up of Catalonia, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Lombardy and Badden-Wurttenberg.
The Spanish minister said that this is "what is expected of ambassadors" when they face criticism abroad. Borrell denied the consul in Stuttgart tried to "boycott" the event, saying instead he just asked to speak in an event he was invited to and they did not gave him the opportunity to do so.
In fact, now all ambassadors from Spain have received a copy of the speech made by their counterpart in Washington, so they can reply in similar terms if they're faced with "attacks" from Catalan officials.