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Spain threatens direct rule as Catalan leader calls for talks

Barcelona (CNN)Catalonia is prepared to enter into a dialogue on independence from Spain "without preconditions," Catalan President Carles Puigdemont told CNN on Wednesday, as the Madrid government took the first steps to imposing direct rule on the region.Speaking a day after he appeared to delay a formal declaration of independence, Puigdemont struck a conciliatory tone, saying he favored mediation to resolve the crisis.But Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gave Puigdemont five days to clarify whether he had made a declaration of independence or not, after which Madrid could take over the Catalan government.On Tuesday Puigdemont delivered an ambiguous speech to the Catalan parliament, saying that Catalonia had won the right to declare ...