Puigdemont talks independence with Danish MPs

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Catalonia's ousted president Carles Puigdemont met Danish MPs in Copenhagen Tuesday to discuss the crisis in his home region and Denmark's handling of its semi-autonomous territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Puigdemont, charged in Spain with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, arrived in the Scandinavian country on Monday, in his first foreign visit since leaving Spain to live in voluntary exile in Brussels on October 30.

He was invited to Denmark by Magni Arge, an MP for the Faroese separatist party Tjodveld (Republicans) and who served as an observer for the banned Catalan independence referendum in October that saw a brutal police crackdown.

Tuesday's talks began at 11:30 am (1030 GMT) behind closed doors in an office in the Danish parliament, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

Those invited included representatives of parties on parliament's standing committee on foreign affairs.

However, the parties that make up the centre-right government coalition, headed by Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen of the Liberal Party, declined to attend, as well as those from the country's two biggest parties, the Social Democrats and the anti-immigration Danish People's Party.

Some said they were unable to attend because of prior engagements, while others said they wanted to refrain from meddling in Spain's internal affairs.

Former Danish foreign minister Holger K. Nielsen, of the Socialist People's Party, said he would participate "but not because I agree" with Puigdemont.

Greenland MP and former prime minister Aleqa Hammond was also on the list of participants.

During a seminar on the Catalan crisis at the University of Copenhagen on Monday, Puigdemont hailed Denmark's political handling of its former colonies Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

They have since 1950 gradually been granted more sovereignty in their bids for full independence.

"It's not easy I know but you're proof that it's possible," Puigdemont said.

In September 2017, 17 Danish MPs (out of 179), including Holger K. Nielsen, signed an open letter to the Spanish government expressing their concern.

"The Spanish government's very repressive attitude is untenable," Nielsen said at the time.


© 2018 AFP

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