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Puigdemont urges Spain to open negotiations over Catalonia

Puigdemont urges Spain to open negotiations over Catalonia

"Spanish authorities understand that political measures are needed", Mr Puigdemont said at a press conference in Berlin.

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said that he meant to stay in Berlin until court proceedings on his case were finalized while expressing hope to return to Brussels afterward.

He also said that Spain must "comply with United Nations resolutions" and release political prisoners, alluding to several Catalan separatist politicians who were imprisoned after unilaterally declaring Catalonia's independence from Spain past year.

Puigdemont was freed after a German court ruled out the charge of rebellion for which Spain issued an global arrest warrant, arguing they found no evidence of violence in Puigdemont actions.

"My duty is to remain here in Germany until the end of the judicial process here ... It is my residence now until the end of this process".

Mr Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds to hold Catalonia's banned independence referendum previous year.

On March 23, Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena initiated a European arrest warrant for 25 Catalan politicians, including Puigdemont, regarding the illegitimate Catalan independence referendum of 2017.

Justice Minister Katarina Barley of Germany applauded that the courtroom's conclusion to spare Mr. Puigdemont on bail as "entirely appropriate" and exactly what she'd expected.

Puigdemont could still face extradition on the other charge of misuse of public funds.

He was trying to drive from Finland to Belgium, where he had been living since fleeing to escape arrest in Spain.

The Schwesig state court decided the charge of rebellion did not warrant extradition, but Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds to hold Catalonia's banned independence referendum.

Barley said it was now up to Spain to prove their embezzlement charges against Puigdemont, which she said "won't be easy".

He also urged the Spanish government to accept dialogue as a way out of the current crisis and accept the legitimacy of Jordi Sanchez - who remains in prison - as a candidate for the presidency of Catalonia.


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