CATALAN INDEPENDENCE BID

US reaffirms its commitment to a “strong and unified Spain”

Obama administration says independence debate is a domestic issue after Catalan vote

US President Barack Obama on Monday.
US President Barack Obama on Monday.SAUL LOEB / AFP

A few hours after the Catalan parliament voted in favor of a motion to start a secession process on Monday, the United States government reiterated its commitment to a unified Spain while emphasizing that the debate over the region’s independence is a domestic issue.

As the president has remarked, we are deeply committed to maintaining a relationship with a strong and unified Spain” US State Department official

A US State Department official told EL PAÍS that “Catalonia is an internal matter for Spain,” and emphasized the ties between Washington and Madrid, saying “Spain is a close ally to the US and a relationship that we greatly value.”

The American official repeated what President Barack Obama had said after meeting with King Felipe VI at the White House in mid-September. “As the president has remarked, we are deeply committed to maintaining a relationship with a strong and unified Spain.”

Before the aforementioned remarks, the Obama administration had declined to comment further on the issue of Catalan independence beyond saying that it was a domestic issue. The president’s statement to the king in the Oval Office came two weeks after pro-independence parties won an absolute parliamentary majority in Catalonia’s regional elections. However, they did not earn the majority of the popular vote.

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Obama’s remarks in support of a unified Spain are similar to those he made in June 2014 before Scotland held an independence referendum that September in which it voted to remain in the United Kingdom.

Over the last few months, the Catalan government and the Spanish administration have both tried to build support in Washington’s political and intellectual circles for their respective positions.

English version by Dyane Jean François.

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