Scotland politics

Sturgeon invited to visit Catalonia by its president

Quim Torra and Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The initiation was made by Quim Torra when he met Ms Sturgeon at her Bute House residence last month

The Catalan president has invited Nicola Sturgeon to visit Barcelona, it has emerged.

The invitation was made by Quim Torra during a meeting with Ms Sturgeon in Edinburgh last month.

The minutes of the meeting state that Ms Sturgeon indicated to Mr Torra that "she would be delighted to do so".

But the Scottish government said on Tuesday that "no arrangements for a reciprocal meeting have been made at this time".

A statement released by the government added that: "The first minister had a productive meeting with President Torra and we will look towards opportunities to work together in the future."

The minutes of the meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Torra were released under freedom of information legislation after a request by The Herald newspaper.

Mr Torra, who supports Catalan independence, became president in May after months of political turmoil.

His predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, is one of several Catalan politicians who remain in exile following last year's disputed independence referendum, which was ruled illegal by the Spanish courts.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Spain has dropped moves to extradite Clara Ponsati from Scotland

They include Clara Ponsati, who was arrested in Scotland in March after the Spanish authorities issued a warrant seeking her extradition on charges of rebellion and misappropriation of public funds over her role in organising the referendum.

The extradition request has since been dropped, but Ms Ponsati still faces arrest if she returns to Spain.

The Scottish and Catalan independence movements have enjoyed close links in recent years, with Ms Ponsati being given a standing ovation when she spoke at the SNP conference in June, but Ms Sturgeon has not explicitly endorsed Catalan independence.

'Complex political situation'

Many pro-independence Catalans want to replicate the Edinburgh Agreement between the UK and Scottish governments that paved the way for a legally-binding independence referendum in Scotland four years ago.

The minutes of the meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Torra confirmed that the pair "discussed the challenging and complex political situation in Catalonia".

It added: "They agreed that the way forward for Catalonia must be through peaceful and democratic solutions involving dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan authorities, respecting the right to self-determination of the Catalan people."

The minutes also state that both leaders expressed a desire to explore economic, trade and cultural opportunities, and to "further strengthen ties between Scotland and Catalonia".

More on this story