Scotland leader Sturgeon urges Catalonia talks

2 min

Glasgow (AFP)

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called Tuesday for a diplomatic resolution to the Catalonia crisis and while backing Catalonians' "right to determine their own future."

Sturgeon, who leads the pro-independence Scottish National Party, told her party's annual conference that she hoped "dialogue will replace confrontation."

"It is time for the Spanish government to sit down with the government of Catalonia," said Sturgeon, who supported the right of the Catalan government to hold a vote on separation.

"It is time for them to talk and to find a way forward. A way forward that respects the rule of law, yes," she said.

"But a way forward that also respects democracy and the right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future."

On Monday conference participants unanimously passed a motion urging the Spanish government to "respect the overwhelming 'si' vote" in Catalonia's banned independence referendum.

A rally in Glasgow, Scotland's second-largest city, was later attended by around 200 supporters carrying banners reading "Solidarity With Catalonia".

The Spanish government and the European Union on Tuesday warned Catalonia's separatist leader Carles Puigdemont against declaring independence, just hours before he was to make an announcement on a possible split from Spain.

Sturgeon has deferred plans for another referendum on Scottish independence, but said Tuesday that the SNP was still "the party of independence" and that she would push for another vote after the terms of Britain's departure from the European Union have been decided.

"Scotland should have the right to choose our future when the terms of Brexit are clear," she said.

"We have a mandate to give the people that choice."

In 2014 the SNP and other Scottish pro-independence parties lost a vote to leave the United Kingdom, with 45 percent voting to leave while 55 percent opted to stay.