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Spain lifts financial controls on Catalonia, rules out referendum

AFP  |  Madrid 

Spain's new has said it would lift financial controls on as a "gesture of normalisation" towards the separatist-minded region, but insisted an referendum was still "out of the question."

yesterday said that banks would be "instructed to allow the government of to make payments" without the supervision of Spain's

The financial controls had been put in place by the previous conservative government of in September 2017 to prevent the separatist regional government of from financing a banned referendum on October 1.

But from now on, the will simply have to provide a monthly spending report to the central government.

Speaking after the first cabinet meeting since came to power, Celaa said the new would meet with Spain's 17 regional government heads, including Catalonia's new separatist

Catalan separatist formations had been among a string of smaller parties to back the no-confidence motion that ousted Rajoy.

Asked whether the government would be willing to discuss the possibility of Catalonia holding an referendum as demanded by Catalan separatists, Celaa said this was "out of the question".

Sanchez spoke by phone with Torra yesterday and the two men "agreed to meet each other very soon," a source in the told AFP.

The tone of the conversation between the two leaders was "very cordial", the source added.

Rajoy's conservative government dismissed after the on October 27 declared independence following the banned referendum.

The referendum was boycotted by the opposition and declared illegal by Spanish courts.

Opinion polls show Catalans are split on the issue of independence, but a large majority want to vote in a legitimate referendum to settle the matter.

Catalonia's ousted Carles Puigdemont, for his part, appeared to be open to a softer position during an interview with Catalan radio Rac1 yesterday.

"The referendum is the expression of the right which the people of Catalonia have to self-determination. If the believes that this right can be exercised in another way, we have always said that we are willing to listen," he said.

Puigdemont is in pending the outcome of a request by for him to be extradited and stand trial over his role in Catalonia's separatist drive.

He picked Torra to be Catalonia's next after separatist parties kept their absolute majority in regional elections in December and remains influential among Catalan separatists.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, June 09 2018. 03:40 IST
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