British Government should facilitate talks between Catalonia and Spain

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The British Government should call on Catalonia and Spain to enter into immediate talks and offer its good offices to facilitate progress, according to Plaid Cymru MP, and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia, Hywel Williams MP.

The Arfon MP made the call during an urgent question in the House of Commons today, referring to the British Government’s experience of facilitating a legal and constitutional referendum in Scotland and its understanding of the importance of hearing the voices of all sides in progressing peace in northern Ireland.

Mr Williams said that the UK’s role and responsibilities as a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council places a duty on it to take action.

Commenting, Plaid Cymru MP and chair of the APPG on Catalonia, Hywel Williams MP, said:

“Today I am asking the Government to act in two ways – for the government to call on the parties in Catalonia to enter into talks and secondly for it also to offer its good offices to facilitate progress.

“No-one can doubt that this is ultimately a political, rather than a legal matter. Getting both parties to talk is the way forward. In this situation the UK Government has a responsibility and an opportunity: firstly it must do all it can to ensure the safety and security of UK citizens living in Catalonia; secondly as a leading European power, member of the Council of Europe, of the EU, of NATO and of the United Nations Security Council, this is happening in our neighbourhood.

“Thirdly – uniquely - the UK Government has recent experience of an independence referendum carried out in Scotland, and largely by agreement - we have some advice to offer. And the hard-won peace agreement in northern Ireland rests partly on the opportunity for all to have their say.

“In my debate on Catalonia on the tenth of October, the Minister replying, said that no request for advice had been made by the Spanish Government and none offered by the UK Government. I now ask that that offer be made.”

Plaid Cymru’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, added:

“What we are witnessing in Catalonia is the return of tyranny to western Europe and history will not look kindly on those who turned a blind eye to the actions of the Spanish Government.

“The British Government should be defending the values of peace and democracy and they should unreservedly condemn the repression of the Catalan people, their political leaders and their democratic institutions.”

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