The Latest: Spanish government meets on Catalonia crisis

The Latest on the crisis over Catalonia's independence bid (all times local):

9:15 a.m.

The Spanish government has started an urgent meeting to discuss its next steps to halt the northeastern region of Catalonia from proceeding with a declaration of independence.

Spanish national television showed images of the ministers gathered around a tabled as the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, got underway.

Wednesday's meeting is taking place after Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont said the previous day that he will proceed with the secession but is suspending it for a few weeks to facilitate negotiations in what is Spain's most serious political crisis in decades.

Rajoy is to address parliament later Wednesday.

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8:45 a.m.

The Spanish government is to hold an urgent meeting to discuss its next steps to halt the northeastern region of Catalonia from proceeding with a declaration of independence.

Wednesday's meeting is taking place after Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont said the previous day that he would proceed with the secession but was suspending it for a few weeks to facilitate negotiations.

Spain responded by saying the declaration was inadmissible, adding that it was based on an invalid independence referendum.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is to appear before parliament later Wednesday to discuss the referendum and what he plans to do next.