(Vatican Radio) The Spanish government says it may impose direct rule over Catalonia and that it has given the region's leader until Thursday morning to clarify whether he has declared independence from Spain.
Monday's announcement came while a Spanish prosecutor already asked for Catalonia's regional police chief to be jailed over his role in a banned referendum on independence.
Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:
Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont isn't clear about independence for what is the country's most prosperous region. In a letter, issued two hours before a Monday deadline, he didn't specify whether he, in fact, declared Catalonia's independence from Spain last week. Instead, he called for talks with the Spanish government.
But Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria called that call for dialogue "not credible" and said Spain's national parliament is the place to talk.
The deputy prime minister said Madrid wants a simple "yes" or "no" answer from Puigdemont on the question whether he declared independence.
She made clear "that was the question that was asked, and the response shouldn't be complicated" and warned that he has "until Thursday morning " to fall in line, or faces the possibility of Spain activating Article 155 of the Constitution.
That would allow the central government to take over parts of Catalonia's self-governance.
Amid the standoff a Spanish prosecutor has already asked for Catalonia's regional police chief to be jailed in a sedition case.
That is related to the staging of Catalonia's October 1 referendum on independence which was banned by central authorities and a court.
Major Josep Lluis Trapero testified for about two hours at Madrid's National Court on Monday. The court prosecutor then recommended he be sent to prison provisionally without bail.
Trapero, another regional police officer and the leaders of two pro-independence associations are under investigation for sedition for their roles in September protests in Barcelona where Spanish police detained Catalan officials and raided offices in a crackdown on referendum preparations.