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2017-10-10 — washingtonpost.com

In a long-awaited speech, Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont affirmed on Tuesday the right of Catalonia to be an independent country. But he notably stopped short of declaring the region an independent polity, calling for further dialogue with the Spanish government.

By suspending the secession process, Puigdemont signaled an overture to critics and observers in Spain and across the European Union who feared the rise of separatism in the increasingly embattled 28-state bloc. He said that Catalonia's conflict with Spain could be resolved in a rational way and suggested exploring international mediation as a possible solution.

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Puigdemont's address, delivered more than a week after the referendum, is likely to resolve little in an escalating conflict that has shocked observers worldwide.

In a move that some commentators said was intended to please both sides, he presented Catalan independence as an inevitability, but delayed the prospect of independence to allow room for further discussion with Spanish and European officials.

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