BRUSSELS (AP) — Catalonia's secessionist leader says that he and four of his closest allies will stay in Belgium for the foreseeable future even though Spain has lifted the international arrest warrants against them.

Latest Video

Carles Puigdemont said Wednesday that even if they are allowed to walk free in Belgium they could still be detained if they return to Spain where there is a rebellion and sedition case pending against them.

Puigdemont said that because of that "for the moment we plan to stay here," possibly until after the Dec. 21 regional election which will be a key factor in Catalonia drive from independence from Spain. They were Puigdemont's first comments since the warrants were dropped.

The five have been in Belgium since Oct. 30 and campaigning from a distance for the election.

Stay informed! Sign up to receive top headlines delivered to your inbox each morning.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.