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Last Updated: Monday, 25 December 2006, 13:22 GMT
Salmond makes festive aid pledge
SNP leader Alex Salmond
SNP leader Alex Salmond set out ambitions for peace and prosperity
Alex Salmond has pledged to double Scotland's international aid if the SNP wins power in next year's elections.

The SNP leader made the commitment in his Christmas address, in which he set out his ambition to have a more prosperous and peaceful Scotland.

He also claimed the nation could be richer if it followed in the footsteps of countries like Norway and Ireland.

He added that an SNP administration would withdraw troops from "that blood-soaked quagmire in Iraq".

The Nationalist leader said he wanted a Scotland that was a "force for good in the world and a voice for peace".

He said: "Within the first term of an SNP-led government we will look to share Scotland's growing success and prosperity with a 100% increase in the Scottish Executive's international aid budget."

'Big role'

Mr Salmond said Scotland could also increase its own prosperity by looking to countries like Norway and Ireland.

He said Norway was the second most prosperous country in the world "because it has taken control of its own oil and gas resources".

He added that if Scotland had grown at the same rate as Ireland then the economy would be "30,000m richer and each of us would be 6,000 a year richer just over the last 10 years."

He concluded: "I believe Scotland has a big role to play in taking this new model of 21st century success to the world."

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