Gambia refutes recognizing Catalonia

Gambia refutes recognizing Catalonia

Gambia’s Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe said the West African nation has not recognized Catalonia after a fake tweet caused diplomatic confusion.

The country, whose ambassador has been summoned by Madrid demanding an explanation said it has no intention of recognizing the decision of the Catalan Parliament to separate from Spain.

“The Government of the Republic of The Gambia has never recognized and does not have any intention to recognize Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence from the Kingdom of Spain,” said Saikou Ceesay, Darboe’s spokesperson.

“The position of The Gambia Government is accordingly unequivocal in that the proclaimed independence of the Catalonia Region of Spain is not recognized as it is not in conformity with the fundamentals of International Law and goes against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Spain.”

A fake Twitter account, posing as the official handle for the Gambia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted congratulating the people of Catalonia on their independence.

The tweet was picked up by several international media houses, including the Radio France International. The official handle of the ministry denied the report causing a controversy.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Catalonia on Sunday in a show of unity with the rest of Spain, rejecting the declaration of independence made by Catalan legislators on Friday.

Many of those protesting in the region’s largest city chanted that sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont should be jailed. Belgium said he could get political asylum there.

Spain’s Prime Miniter Mariano Rajoy has imposed direct rule over the autonomous region, sacked Puigdemont and dissolved the Catalan Parliament.

Rajoy appointed his deputy, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria to lead the region. She will coordinate with central government ministry undersecretaries to take over the responsibilities of Catalan ministries.

Spain’s Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis told the Associated Press on Sunday that it was feasible that the Catalonia crisis could end with more independence for the region.

Puigdemont could face more than 30 years in prison and Spanish public prosecutor’s office said they would demand that he be remanded in custody as soon as he is arrested.

Spain’s prosecution service was preparing accusations of rebellion and misuse of public funds against Mr. Puigdemont for going ahead with an illegal referendum on independence for Catalonia, held on October 1 amid scenes of police violence against hundreds of voters.

Dastis said Puigdemont would be eligible to run in the December regional elections unless he was in prison. Puigdemont’s pro-independence party could “theoretically” put him up as a candidate “if he is not put in jail at that time.”

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