LONG-AWAITED talks aimed at solving the political deadlock between the governments of Catalonia and Spain are to be held next week.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Quim Torra, the Catalan president, have agreed to meet on Wednesday after Torra had rejected the original date on Monday for “personal” reasons and suggested a number of alternatives.

In a letter to Sanchez yesterday, the Catalan president said the dialogue “did not start off well” and he criticised Sanchez for suggesting dates for the meeting through the press.

He said it “was not the way to show that he wants honest and fruitful dialogue”.

The negotiations between the two sides were eventually secured by the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), partners in Torra’s Together for Catalonia (JxCat) lobby in the Catalan parliament.

ERC MPs in the Spanish parliament had previously abstained in the vote to name Sanchez as prime minister, enabling the Socialist leader to be installed.

In his letter, Torra set out his thoughts on the agenda for the meeting, which included discussions on the Catalans’ right to self-determination, ending repression and an amnesty for the jailed pro-independence leaders.

His letter included, as “favourable conditions for negotiation … a validation system and proposal for international mediation”, to settle their differences.

Sanchez had written to Torra stressing the need to move the dialogue forward.

“The government of Spain has a sincere desire to dialogue and agree,” he wrote.

“The Spanish government proposes to resume our dialogue when the paths are separated and reasons and arguments cease to be heard.

“We all know that dialogue is necessary and this must be the legislature that promotes it. This is the spirit that we want to convey to this table in which all the citizens have so much hope deposited.”