MADRID — Catalonia president Artur Mas, who is pushing for independence for his northeastern region from the rest of Spain, on Tuesday said the deal for a referendum on Scotland's independence sets a "standard at the international level".
"I am writing to express my congratulations, and those of the Government of Catalonia, on the historic accord reached between you and the First Minister of Scotland making it possible for the Scottish people to hold a referendum before the end of 2014 to decide their future," Mas wrote in a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"The accord you have agreed transcends both Scotland and the United Kingdom to set a standard at the international level," Mas noted.
"Our country will be watching this accord and the process which is now under way with respect, attention and also with a certain admiration and expectation.
"We believe that Catalonia and Scotland have certain things in common, but it is also clear that their political, economic and social situations are quite different."
Cameron and Scotland's pro-independence Alex Salmond signed an agreement on Monday to hold a referendum in 2014 on Scottish independence that could lead to the United Kingdom breaking up after 300 years.
"This accord between the governments of the United Kingdom and of Scotland is a particularly important demonstration of how in a democracy it is possible to respect the ideas and the will of the people as shown through the ballot box," Mas said.
"When there is a willingness to understand each other and to enter into dialogue, negotiation is possible and understanding and common ground will be found," he added.
Mas had declared in September that Catalonia, its capital Barcelona, should hold a referendum on "self-determination" even if Spain's central government does not allow it.
"First you have to try to hold it according to the law, and if you can't, you hold it anyway. The consultation should take place in any case," Mas told the Catalan regional parliament then.
"If it can be done via a referendum because the government authorises it, that is better. If not, it should be held just the same."
Catalonia will hold a snap election on November 25 after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected Mas's proposals for greater taxing and spending powers for the rich northeastern region.
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