Catalonia’s separatist leader Carles Puigdemont on told the central government he wanted to “suspend” initiating steps towards independence for two months to start talks with Madrid. His comments came as the deadline set by Madrid to clarify his intentions for the Spanish region came to a close. Puigdemont last week made an ambiguous announcement, saying he accepted the mandate for “Catalonia to become an independent state” following a banned referendum, in which separatist leaders say 90 per cent opted to split from Spain — even if more than half of eligible voters stayed home. But he immediately suspended that declaration pending talks with Madrid. In a letter to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy today, Puigdemont wrote that his “suspension of the political mandate given by the polls on October 1 demonstrates our firm will to find a solution and not confrontation.” UCJ, UNILORIN.