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Pedro Sánchez has no fear of being photographed with Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras, and that is why the Spanish prime minister confirms that he will meet with the Catalan president-in-exile and the Catalan Republican Left leader once the amnesty law is passed. That is what he stated this Tuesday in an informal conversation with journalists, at the traditional Christmas refreshment held at the government palace, the Moncloa. There is, according to him, no agreed date; so he did not specify whether these meetings would take place before or after the amnesty is finally approved by the Spanish houses of parliament. But he did point out that there will be several encounters and without any kind of privacy. "It is consistent with the normalization process," he said. In the same way, he argued that the photographs would not be politically damaging to him, as at the Spanish general election on July 23rd, he increased his support at the polls by a million votes, despite having pardoned the Catalan political prisoners in his previous mandate.

As reported last week, on the same Wednesday that Sánchez and Puigdemont met in Strasbourg, the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Turull, and the secretary of organization of the PSOE, Santos Cerdán, met in one of the buildings of the Spanish Congress. They spoke, however, of holding a meeting in the coming weeks. In that European plenum in Strasbourg, Puigdemont and Sánchez coincided in the same place. But they didn't greet each other. This Tuesday, in the Spanish PM's informal conversation, he excused himself for that lack of greeting last week by citing the design of the chamber and how speakers face the presidential tribune.

The Madrid meeting between the PSOE and Junts was also attended by Míriam Nogueras, who has been one of the protagonists of the Spanish press for the last week, for having taken launched an attack on some Spanish judges. Indeed, in this pre-Christmas conversation with journalists, Sánchez stated that the PSOE will veto judges from appearing before the congressional commissions which the pro-independence parties have succeeded in obtaining, to investigate Operation Catalunya, the Spanish state's Pegasus espionage and the terrorist attacks of August 17th, 2017.

The meeting between Puigdemont and Sánchez was already announced by the general secretary of Together for Catalonia (Junts), Jordi Turull, in an interview with TVE last Thursday, just the day after the two leaders coincided in Strasbourg at the plenary session of the European Parliament to take stock of the Spanish presidency of the European Union. In fact, Turull specified that the purpose of the meeting would be to "talk about the negotiation and go more deeply into the resolution of the conflict".

Sánchez-Aragonès meeting

Sánchez's confirmation comes just two days before the meeting between the Spanish PM and the president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Pere Aragonès, as part of the negotiations between the two executives. Regarding the meeting between the two presidents, Sánchez explained that they will talk about when they will call a new meeting of the dialogue table between the two executives, after more than a year without any encounter. In this regard, the spokeswoman for the Catalan government, Patrícia Plaja, explained that the president plans to put on the table the issues that he considers are "priorities" for the Government, such as investments like the transfer of the Rodalies rail service to Catalonia, the reform of autonomous community financing and the defence of the Catalan language.