Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Salmond and Clinton in US talks

Alex Salmond met US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Washington DC

First Minister Alex Salmond has met US secretary of state Hillary Clinton during a visit to Washington DC.

The meeting is the first between a Scottish First Minister and US secretary of state.

Mr Salmond said he hoped the discussion would mark the beginning of a period of "deepening friendship" between Scotland and the US.

He welcomed the prominence given to green energy in the economic recovery plan from the Obama administration.

Climate change

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Salmond said: "This is an exciting time for the USA - as Hillary Clinton herself has said, it is a new era for America.

"Today's meeting will also mark, I hope, the start of a new period of deepening friendship and partnership between our two nations.

"We had a productive discussion that touched on issues around the shared global challenge of climate change.

"The secretary of state was clearly impressed by the idea of a small country making a large contribution to a global issue, while I welcome the huge prominence of green energy in the US recovery plan."

The first minister also delivered a lecture at Georgetown University, where he invited Americans to join in Scotland's year of Homecoming celebrations.

The address, Facing the Global Economic Challenge, focused on the measures needed at international and domestic level to overcome the economic downturn.

Mr Salmond said he would meet the UK prime minister in London later this week to discuss the crisis.

He said: "At that meeting I will advance the case for new financial freedom for Scotland's government.

"And in particular I will make the case for Scotland to have the same ability to borrow as other nations ... in order to do our bit to inject demand and confidence into the economy.

"From what I have seen from the action of your Congress and your president these past few weeks, I know that America 'gets it'."

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