Carmelo Abela condemns violence in Spain, but Malta will respect court’s decision

Malta follows the European Commission’s approach of regarding the independence referendum an internal matter for Spain

Malta’s foreign minister Carmelo Abela has condemned the violence in the Catalonia region of Spain, in a police crackdown triggered by the illegal independence referendum held on Sunday in the region.

In a statement today, the Ministry said: “The Ministry for Foreign Affairs & Trade Promotion are closely following the events in Catalonia. We respect the Spanish Constitutional Court’s decision that Sunday’s vote was not legal, and this is an internal matter for Spain. We condemn violence of any kind, and believe dialogue is always the way forward”.

The statement echoes the reactions of other EU member states, which have condemned the violence, but are viewing the issue as an internal matter for Spain.

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn described the violence as “shocking”, and urged the Spanish government to “act to end it now”. Similarly, Belgian prime minister Charles Michel said that “violence can never be the answer”.

European Council President Donald Tusk, after speaking to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, tweeted “Sharing his constitutional arguments, I appealed for finding ways to avoid further escalation and use of force”.

More than 850 people were injured in the violent crashes which erupted on Sunday, with police using batons and rubber bullets to prevent voters from voting in the banned referendum. Leader of the Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said that Spain had won the right to statehood following the illegal referendum, which saw a 42.3% turnout.

Meanwhile, the government in Madrid has warned Catalonia that it could suspend its autonomy.

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