Italy does not recognize Catalonia’s unilaterally proclaimed independence and believes that Spain’s territorial integrity must be preserved, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said on Tuesday evening.

“In recent weeks, we have repeatedly called on the Catalan government to engage in a constructive dialogue with Madrid in line with the principle of preserving the unity of the state and with respect to the principles of autonomy, as envisaged by the Spanish constitution,” Alfano was quoted as saying by his press service.

“Italy views the unilateral declaration of independence and the escalation of violence as inadmissible,” the minister added. “We believe that the Spanish government will be able to maintain law and order, with due respect paid to citizen’s rights.”

Catalonia’s head Carles Puigdemont earlier announced that based on the results of the October 1 referendum on secession from Spain, the region has earned the right to become an independent republic. However, he added, the region would suspend the process of declaring independence in a bid to establish a constructive dialogue with Madrid.

According to the Catalan government, as many as 90.18% of voters supported the idea of Catalonia’s independence. In all, 2.28 million Catalans, or 43% out of 5.3 million eligible voters, took part in the referendum. The Spanish authorities however regard this referendum as illegal and refuse to recognize its results.

Puigdemont, along with other Catalan officials and lawmakers, signed an official declaration of independence on Tuesday evening. The document, however, is yet to enter force.