Trump won't help Catalonia get independence: 'This is a matter for Spain'

Catalan independence supporters are seen in Barcelona ahead of regional figurehead Artur Mas's civil disobedience trial this year

Catalan independence supporters are seen in Barcelona ahead of regional figurehead Artur Mas's civil disobedience trial this year

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The new US government has ruled out helping Catalonia secure independence for Spain, saying it has no interest in interfering in the matter.

A communique released by the US embassy in Madrid says Catalonia is "an internal subject for Spain" and says Washington is "deeply committed to maintain relations with a strong, united Spain".

The statement says Spain is a "vital ally, partner and friend" to the US and expresses hope that the two countries will continue working together on matters of international peace and security.

The communique was released just days after Catalonia's regional president, Carles Puigdemont, travelled to America to talk about the independence process, meeting former US president Jimmy Carter.

Two members of the US Congress, Dana Rohrabacher and Brian Higgins, have also travelled to Barcelona this week to meet senior members of the regional Catalan government.

Some Catalan separatists have previously suggested that Mr Trump and his new administration will support independence for Catalonia, a belief which was fuelled by a speech given by the now-US President during his campaign.

Mr Trump said at the time “the whole world is more peaceful and stable when people are allowed to exercise their right to self-determination. People will pledge allegiance to their God giving identity and natural boundary.”

Catalonia has already held a symbolic referendum on independence, which carried no legal weight but was nonetheless viewed as an act of rebellion by the Madrid government. Last month Puigdemont's successor as regional president, Artur Mas, was banned from holding public office for two years as punishment for organising the referendum.