04:52 GMT26 February 2021
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    Former PACE President Pedro Agramunt has spoken with Sputnik about the Catalan independence referendum and his visit to Syria, for which he was criticized.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The dispute over the Catalan referendum on independence is an internal Spanish affair and should be decided in the country's parliament, Spanish senator and former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Pedro Agramunt told Sputnik.

    "This is not a question between Madrid and Barcelona. This is the question of Spain and all the Spanish [people]… Because the integrity of Spain is in the Constitution. And the Constitution was approved by all the Spanish people, including 92 percent of Catalans. So, this is the rule of law; that means you must always accept the law. In this case, the maximum is the Constitution. And so, the only dialogue can be inside the parliament," Agramunt said.

    When asked whether Russia could somehow help settle the issue, Agramunt replied negatively.

    Agramunt noted that he agreed with the Russian authorities that this was an internal affair of Spain and not a matter to have "any intervention from other countries."

    Spain's Constitutional Court earlier in the day passed a verdict on the referendum law approved by the Catalan parliament in September, declaring it void.

    On October 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum despite the fact that the vote had been previously ruled illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court. Multiple brutal clashes between the police and pro-independence activists on voting day resulted in the injury of almost 900 civilians. Madrid claimed that nearly 400 police officers also sustained injuries in the conflict.

    Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said in the aftermath of the referendum that Catalonia was ready for mediation and for talks with the Spanish government.

    Agramunt On His Attempts to Promote Dialogue in Syria

    Pedro Agramunt, who resigned on October 6, citing personal reasons, said that his visit to Syria was aimed at promoting "dialogue and peace," but, nevertheless, he was criticized by PACE for his visit.

    "Many colleagues have condemned my visit and joined the anti-Russian hysteria," the ex-head of PACE said.

    In late June, PACE adopted new regulations which would allow them to begin the process of Agramunt's removal from office during their October session. Agramunt's representative told Sputnik at the time that many assembly members were against Russia and against "any person who is trying to integrate European countries into a pan-European organization that is larger than the European Union."


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