Friday, 07 April 2017

Puigdemont meets with Jimmy Carter to talk about Catalonia’s pro-independence process

CNA

Barcelona (CNA).- Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations continue to gather interest abroad. This Thursday, Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, traveled to Atlanta to attend the Annual Executive Briefing and Presidential Reception at the Carter Center and later he spoke with the former US President and Nobel Peace Laureate, Jimmy Carter, in a private meeting. The current political situation in Catalonia and the citizens’ push for independence were among the topics discussed during the meeting. Puigdemont’s agenda in the US was kept secret and the trip was carried out with utmost discretion in order to avoid possible interference from the Spanish diplomatic corps.

Puigdemont described the invitation to explain Catalonia at the Carter Center as “an opportunity to share the situation” and to do so “before an audience which is used to discussing these kinds of issues all over the world”. Moreover, his participation in the Annual Executive Briefing and Presidential Reception at the Carter Center confirms “that there is a growing interest on what’s going on in Catalonia”.

According to Puigdemont “it often comes out that these kinds of political conflicts require the expertise of mediators”. In an interview with Catalan television TV3, Puigdemont assured that that belief held “by many people who have tried to understand why a petition like that which has been widely endorsed by the Catalan citizens can’t be solved by democratic means”. Moreover, he lamented that such a demand “has not aroused political or democratic interest from the Spanish state”.

“We have laid a table for the Spanish state to sit at and, if the mediation of other parties is required, it won’t be us who object,” he added.

Puigdemont praised the Carter Center, which he described as an “absolutely independent” body, which distances itself from all political positions and which accepts no public funding. “The Catalan Government is not asking for anything,” Puigdemont clarified, “but rather is responding to an invitation”. Indeed, the Catalan President explained that the meeting grew out of an invitation that Carter himself sent to the Catalan Government when he received Catalonia’s International Prize in 2010. 

According to Puigdemont, Catalonia shares similar objectives with the Carter Center and put the Government’s “commitment to defend peace, eliminate sickness, and consolidate democratic processes” at the Center’s disposal. 

“I said he could count on Catalonia’s knowledge of and commitment to being a peaceful, welcoming country, which accepts today’s challenges,” he said.

According to sources close to the president, Puigdemont explained the political situation in Catalonia to Jimmy Carter and outlined the Spanish Government’s refusal to dialogue, as well as the current judicialization of politics by the Spanish State.

Puigdemont to meet with two congressmen in Barcelona

On Sunday, the Catalan President will receive two US congressmen at the Palau de la Generalitat, the Catalan Government headquarters in Barcelona. They are Republican Dana Rohrabacher of California, with whom Puigdemont already met during his official trip to Washington DC last week, and New York Democrat Brian Higgins. The aim of the meeting is to analyze the political situation in Catalonia within the current European framework.

After the meeting, the two congressmen will have an official dinner with the President, the Catalan VP, Oriol Junqueras, the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, the Government’s secretary, Joan Vidal, and the Catalan Delegate to the US, Andrew Davis.

Puigdemont traveled to the US last week

Last week, Puigdemont travelled to Boston to give the conference ‘Catalonia, Today and Tomorrow’ at the Center for European Studies (CES) at the Harvard Kennedy School. He was joined by CES’ director Grzegorz Ekiert during the talk, which analyzed the current political situation in Catalonia and its place within the EU. The Catalan President's official trip continued to Washington DC, where he met several congressmen, and New York, were he signed a collaboration agreement on urban development between Incasòl, the Catalan Government's subsidiary that manages public land throughout Catalonia, and the Wilson Center, one of the most influential think tanks in the world.

  • Carter_Center

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, during his intervention at the Carter Center in Atlanta (by Carter Center)