The Latest: Catalan leader suggests waiting on independence

Journalists work in the press workroom as Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont addresses the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 10, 2017. Puigdemont is to address the Catalan parliament on Tuesday evening in a session that some have portrayed as the staging of an independence declaration for the northeastern region of 7.5 million, although others have said the move would only be symbolic. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on Catalan authorities’ bid for independence (all times local): 7:45 p.m. | Catalan president Carles Puigdemont says he has a mandate to declare independence for the northeastern region, but proposes waiting “a few weeks” in order to facilitate a dialogue.

Puigdemont tells the Catalan parliament that a landslide victory in the region’s disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence gives his government grounds to implement its long-held desire to break century-old ties with Spain. But he is suggesting holding off.

Puigdemont’s speech was highly critical of the Spanish government’s response to the referendum, but he said Catalans have nothing against Spain or Spaniards, and that they want to understand each other better.

At the end of his speech, Puigdemont was applauded by standing separatist lawmakers.

7:10 p.m. | Catalonia’s parliament has opened a highly anticipated session that could spell the birth of a new republic, marking a critical point in a decade-long standoff between Catalan separatists and Spain’s central authorities.

Security is tight in Barcelona and police cordoned off a park surrounding the legislative building, where Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is expected to walk a fine line during an address to regional lawmakers.

The speech will need to appease the most radical separatist-minded supporters of his ruling coalition — but Puigdemont could shut down any possibility of negotiating with Spain if he adopts a hard line.

The Catalan leader hasn’t revealed the precise message he will deliver, but separatist lawmakers and activists have said they won’t be satisfied with anything short of an independence declaration.

6:15 p.m. | A key speech by Catalonia’s president on independence from Spain has been delayed by an hour.

Carles Puigdemont has requested the delay because a parliamentary group needs to hold a meeting on opposition lawmakers’ request to cancel the session.

The highly anticipated speech will address the region’s bid to secede from Spain, but it’s not known exactly what Puigdemont will say.

The speech will likely set up a clash with the Spanish government, which has said any independence declaration would be illegal and void.

5:45 p.m. | Scotland’s pro-independence leader says she hopes “dialogue will replace confrontation” between authorities in Catalonia and the Spanish government.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Tuesday that “it is time for the Spanish government to sit down with the government of Catalonia.”

She said “it is time for them to talk and to find a way forward” that respects both the rule of law and “the right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future.”

Scotland held a 2014 referendum on whether to break away from the U.K. that was won by the “no” side. Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party says it will push for another vote when the time is right.

Unlike the Catalan independence vote, Scotland’s referendum was held with the approval of the British government.

Sturgeon also says the European Union should have “spoken up loudly” to condemn police violence against voters in the contested referendum.

5:05 p.m. | Catalonia’s president has arrived at the regional parliament less than an hour before he is due to give a key speech on independence from Spain.

Carles Puigdemont smiled at journalists as he walked into the building.

Puigdemont will address the regional parliament at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) in a session during which a declaration of independence could be made based on the results of a disputed Oct. 1 independence referendum opposed by Spanish central authorities.