IT will be the first official meeting between the two newly-elected leaders of their principalities and there are hopes that some moves might be made to ease the political turmoil that has gripped Catalonia since last October’s referendum on independence from Spain.

Catalan President Quim Torra will meet Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at his official residence in Madrid, the Moncloa, determined to uphold the mandate from the poll and seeking to explore “how Catalonia can culminate the exercise of the right to self-determination” that the result started.

Torra, who will meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh on Wednesday, has called for Sanchez to sanction an agreed referendum, similar to the arrangement between the UK and Scottish governments for the 2014 indyref.

For his part the Spanish prime minister has already said that will not be discussed, and in a series of interviews over the weekend, his colleagues reinforced his stance on several contentious issues, including a possible referendum.

Carmen Calvo, the Spanish vice-president, told the newspaper El Mundo, that Sanchez’s position was clear: “There are no political prisoners in Spain and in our country the right to self-determination is not recognised, nor does it exist.

“The independence of a territory is not foreseen in the constitution. And no constitutional government of Spain contemplates it.

“We will speak to Torra of the high autonomy that Catalonia has, which has never had the level of autonomy and decentralisation of now.”

Six of the political prisoners whose existence Calvo denied – pro-independence Catalan politicians and civic group leaders – were last week moved from prisons in Madrid, hundreds of miles from their families, to institutions in Catalonia.

However, the transfer of the remaining three is still being processed.

All are being held in what Spain calls “pre-trial [or pre-emptive] detention” facing a series of charges relating to their roles in the October poll.

The charges are similar to those awaiting seven former ministers who are in exile elsewhere in Europe.

Three of them are in Belgium and already know they will not be sent back.

A ruling on the case of sacked president Carles Puigdemont, who is exiled in Germany, is expected soon.

And the case of St Andrews academic and former education minister Clara Ponsati will be heard in Edinburgh, under centuries-old legislation alleging treason.

Torra has called for the immediate release of the prisoners and the return of those who are exiled, but Sanchez could wash his hands of them and say, simply, that the subject is a matter for the judiciary and the government cannot interfere.

However, as quickly as Spanish aides set out the position of Sanchez, so Torra’s senior allies hit back.

Minister of the Presidency and Catalan Government spokeswoman, Elsa Artadi, yesterday told the Ara newspaper that a resumption of the dialogue between the two governments the most pressing issue, to help create a framework within which they “can talk about everything bilaterally”.

“We must begin the dialogue and talk about everything,” she said.

“I suppose the political intelligence of the Spanish government will not be summed up in ‘this is not the end point’ because that’s what [ousted Spanish PM Mariano] Rajoy did.”

She did not rule out further disobedience “at some point” but said it was unlikely to happen in the near future.

Artadi added: “It’s pointless to disobey with micro-cents that do not have a definitive impact.

“Talking means seeing how they understand the right to self-determination, contained in international treaties signed by Spain, which both [Socialist Party] PSOE and the [Catalan Socialists] PSC have defended – not many years ago.”