Aragonès blames judicial apparatus and not Spanish Government for Puigdemont arrest
Catalan president says he does not "know" that Sanchez was in the know and asks to "maintain the course" of dialogue
BarcelonaKeeping the path of dialogue alive is one of the main objectives of Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) – and, therefore, President Pere Aragonès – in this term. Given two years to prove the negotiation with the State bares fruits by the pro-independence majority that sustains the Government, the Catalan president has avoided holding the Spanish president responsible for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont's arrest in Sardinia on Friday, contrary to the latter's claims. "I will not go into speculating whether the Spanish government was in the know, but I have no evidence that it was the case," he said in an interview with La 2 and Radio 4, in which he has made clear that blame for Puigdemont's situation is the Spanish judicial apparatus.
This has been the thesis that he has maintained at all times, even when Pedro Sánchez said Puigdemont has to appear before the courts. "He said the courts, not the Spanish courts," the Catalan president pointed out, making an effort to dissociate the events of this weekend from the negotiation with the PSOE in Madrid. The republican, in fact, has remarked that, every time he has sought to advance towards a political resolution of the conflict, the State apparatus have put "pressure" to continue on the penal route. "The judicial apparatus does politics," he said. Nevertheless, he has urged Sánchez to understand that the pardons of political prisoners have not put an end to repression against the independence movement and has claimed once again "legislative instruments", such as an amnesty law.
Despite the fact that the socialists do not want to even discuss this, the president has recalled that the talks to reach agreements will require time. The same goes in terms of self-determination, another of the topics vetoed by the Spanish government. "Can we agree on how to hold a referendum and with what deadlines?", President Aragonès has asked about the dialogue table. But despite arguing that "the conflict is about this, not about commuter trains or investments", he then admitted that one cannot expect "the other side to assume your proposal all at once". "The key is to stay the course to find a negotiated solution to the conflict," he said.
In this "complex" process that "requires time and perseverance", Aragonès continued, "unity" will also be needed. This is an appeal to his coalition partner Together for Catalonia (JxCat), whose alliance he is also seeking in the Spanish parliament. The president has asked "honesty" from Together and pro-independence anti-capitalist CUP in order to establish a common front in the negotiation for the State budget. "If we can join forces, so much the better. But if every day we have to look for an excuse to vote no [...] or it becomes a tool to wear down the pro-independence side, it is not even worth starting," he said.
The Socialists' deputy secretary general, Adriana Lastra, spoke along the same lines. She avoided assessing the arrest of Carles Puigdemont and has focused on defending the negotiating table with the Generalitat. "It is a window of opportunity," she said at a press conference. Lastra was convinced that it is the way to resolve the Catalan conflict and has said that it "continues underway".