The Latest: Catalan president’s speech delayed by an hour

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BARCELONA, Spain — The Latest on Catalan authorities’ bid for independence (all times local):

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.

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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.

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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.

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5 p.m.

Catalonia’s president has left the government palace and is heading to parliament for a key speech on independence from Spain.

Carles Puigdemont left in a small motorcade escorted by police.

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.

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4:25 p.m.

The foreign ministers of Italy and Slovenia have called for the respect of the Spanish constitution and laws in the crisis over Catalonia’s secession bid.

Slovenia’s official STA news agency quoted Italian minister Angelino Alfano as saying that “we deeply respect Spain’s constitutional unity and we hope that it will not be thrown into question, because respecting the Spanish constitution is necessary for preserving the rule of law.”

The report says Alfano, on a trip to Slovenia, also has urged dialogue, saying Europe needs unity most of all.

STA says Slovenia minister Karl Erjavec noted his country’s declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 was made in line with then-Yugoslav law. Erjavec adds “we count on dialogue and reason.”

Slovenia was the first to leave the ex-Yugoslav federation whose breakup triggered ethnic bloodshed.

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3:55 p.m.

A senior European Union official has pleaded with the Catalan leadership to step away from the brink of a divisive call for independence and resort to dialogue with Spain’s government instead.

European Council President Donald Tusk addressed Catalonia’s president directly, hours before Carles Puigdemont is expected to make an announcement on the region’s bid for secession.

Tusk said in Brussels that “I ask you to respect in your intentions the constitutional order and not to announce a decision that would make such a dialogue impossible.”

Tusk added that “diversity should not and need not lead to conflict whose consequences would obviously be bad for the Catalans, for Spain and for the whole of Europe.”

Before a meeting of the EU’s Committee of the Regions, Tusk said that “let us always look for what unites us and not for what divides us. This is what will decide the future of our continent.”

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3:35 p.m.

Around two dozen tractors flying secessionist flags have paraded near Catalonia’s regional parliament before a highly anticipated session that could include a declaration of independence from Spain.

The tractors rode in a circle around Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf outside a park surrounding the Catalan parliament that has been closed to the public by a large police deployment.

A small and growing group of separatists were gathering in the promenade next to the Arc de Triomf, where the movement’s main grassroots group has called for a rally when Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is scheduled to address the parliament at 6 p.m. (1400 GMT).

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