Scotland politics

Scottish independence: 'We'll stay neutral,' says US ambassador Susman

Media captionThe US ambassador to the UK says it is up to people in Scotland to decide their own future.

The US ambassador to Britain has told the BBC that his country would not take sides in the Scottish independence referendum debate.

Louis Susman said the Washington government was watching the debate unfold and would be staying "neutral".

He believed it was up to people in Scotland to decide their future.

Mr Susman's comments chime with that of ex-UN deputy secretary general Mark Malloch-Brown, who said the US would be wise to keep out of the debate.

During an interview in Edinburgh with BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor, Mr Susman said: "This is up for the Scottish people to decide and where their best future is for their children and their grandchildren.

"We will watch it and we won't take sides. We are neutral and we will just have to see what will happen.

"But obviously there are ramifications either way."

The retired investment banker also spoke about the state of the economy and Britain's place in the European Union.

Last month, the Obama administration warned the UK government of the dangers of holding a referendum on EU membership.

Media captionMark Malloch-Brown: 'Foreign, unsolicited, advice is going to only anger Scots'

Prime Minister David Cameron said he would be willing to hold an "in/out" vote on membership before the end of 2017 if his party were to win the next election.

Mr Susman reiterated Washington's view of Britain in the EU by saying: "My government's position has been very clear - that the UK is our oldest and strongest ally.

"We are not a member of the EU, so from time to time, when we need messages carried or argument made, we have relied on them and if they are not there or not there as a full voice credible member it will give us some concern."

In a separate BBC interview, Lord Malloch-Brown, who was minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Gordon Brown's government, said the US would be wise to keep out of the Scottish independence debate.

He told Glenn Campbell: "Foreign, unsolicited advice, is going to only anger Scots. Britain and Scotland should be broadly left to sort this out amongst themselves."

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