Flanders' separatist leader boosts ties with Catalan counterpart

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A week after meeting Scotland's pro-independence leader Nicola Sturgeon, Catalonia's president Quim Torra held talks Tuesday in Barcelona with his counterpart in Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, and both agreed to strengthen cooperation.

The nationalists of Bourgeois's New Flemish Alliance, a key partner in Belgium's national coalition government, were strongly critical of Madrid's crackdown on a failed secession bid in Catalonia last October.

"I want to thank the Flemish people and the president for the support over all these months," Torra told reporters.

Bourgeois, who had called on Spain's previous government to initiate a dialogue with Catalonia's then separatist executive, welcomed the stance taken by new prime minister Pedro Sanchez, who met Torra last week.

He said it was "very good news that at least there is dialogue because any solution will start with a dialogue."

© 2018 AFP

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