Scottish Government 'respects' Catalan independence vote
Minister says the people of Catalonia must have the ability to determine their own future.
The Scottish Government said it understands and respects the position of the Catalan Government after the regional parliament voted to establish an independent republic from Spain.
While the UK Government said it will not recognise the declaration of independence, Scotland's External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the people of Catalonia "must have the ability to determine their own future".
Ms Hyslop said Spain has the right to oppose independence but that Friday's vote "came about only after repeated calls for dialogue were refused".
Shortly after the Catalan vote, the Spanish Senate in Madrid authorised the central government to take control of the region through unprecedented constitutional measures.
Both sides have been clashing since a disputed referendum on independence at the start of October.
Ms Hyslop said: "We understand and respect the position of the Catalan Government.
"While Spain has the right to oppose independence, the people of Catalonia must have the ability to determine their own future.
"Today's Declaration of Independence came about only after repeated calls for dialogue were refused.
"Now, more than ever, the priority of all those who consider themselves friends and allies of Spain should be to encourage a process of dialogue to find a way forward that respects democracy and the rule of law.
"The imposition of direct rule cannot be the solution and should be of concern to democrats everywhere.
"The European Union has a political and moral responsibility to support dialogue to identify how the situation can be resolved peacefully and democratically."
Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said the declaration was based on a vote which had been declared illegal and that the UK wanted to see the unity of Spain preserved.
The spokesman said: "The UK does not and will not recognise the unilateral declaration of independence made by the Catalan regional parliament.
"It is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts.
"We continue to want to see the rule of law upheld, the Spanish constitution respected, and Spanish unity preserved."