CATALAN President Quim Torra and Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez have had their first official meeting in Madrid. Although it was described as “full of cordiality”, it appears there will be no independence referendum in Catalonia in the foreseeable future.

However, Spanish vice-president Carmen Calvo said the two sides had agreed to launch a bilateral state- Generalitat (Catalan Government) commission, which has been dormant for seven years, and withdraw legal challenges against Catalan social laws – one of Torra’s main asks.

Torra told journalists later that his government would not give up on its aim of independence and said Sanchez had agreed a political solution had to be found.

“Sanchez recognised that Spain is a multinational state, a nation of nations, and nations have the right to self-determination,” he said.

“The only thing that demands Catalanism is the right to self-determination, and that we do not lose to exercise it.”

Torra said he insisted throughout the two-and-a-half-hour meeting that he could not give up on the right to self-determination, “as it belongs to the people”.

“We talked about everything, and that has been very important,” he said. “For years I could not talk about everything.

“We have found that we have positions that are far removed from the right of self-determination, which is the fundamental question.

“The people of Catalonia were self-determined on the first of October.”

Torra went on to claim that the man who should have met Sanchez is Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalan president who is exiled in Germany.

“He won the elections and had the support of the absolute majority of the Parliament of Catalonia,” Torra said.

“This fact already demonstrates the abnormality of the political situation of Catalonia.”

At a separate press conference, Calvo said Sanchez had closed the door on any independence vote.

“The right to self-determination does not exist in any democracy, there is little to talk about this,” she said. “But regarding Catalonia’s autonomy there is more to say.”

She said Sanchez had told Torra that Catalonia already has a high degree of self-government but added: “Self-determination does not exist as a right in any democracy.”

The two sides will meet again in Barcelona, at a date to be set, but Torra said he would not give up on the Catalan political prisoners and exiles in Europe, the existence of whom was denied by Sanchez.

“The judicial and police offensive must be finalised against independence,” he said.

Torra will travel to Edinburgh later, where he will meet with Clara Ponsati, the former Catalan education minister who is fighting extradition to Spain, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Meanwhile, the remaining three former ministers jailed in Madrid have been moved to another prison in the Spanish capital in preparation for their move to institutions in Barcelona, closer to their families.

Josep Rull, Jordi Turull and Joaquim Forn were taken to Valdemoro prison, yesterday and are expected to arrive in Catalonia tomorrow.

Their final destination will be Lledoners prison, around 50 miles from Barcelona, where Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sanchez, Jordi Cuixart and Raül Romeva were transferred last week.