Scotland politics

Sturgeon meets US Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Washington

Nicola Sturgeon and Tony Blinken Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon met US Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Washington

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has met US Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken on the third day of her trip to the United States.

Her appointment with America's second most senior diplomat took place in Washington.

Former first minister Alex Salmond met Hilary Clinton when she was secretary of state in 2009.

Ms Sturgeon also addressed an audience at the World Bank with a speech about economic equality.

A spokesman for the first minister said she met Mr Blinken at the US Department of State for almost half an hour.

He said: "This was a warm, friendly and constructive meeting between the first minister and deputy secretary of state in which the longstanding ties between Scotland and the USA were reaffirmed.

"The first minister and Deputy Secretary Blinken discussed a range of issues - including the outcome of the UK general election and the new political landscape in Scotland, the economy, the Scottish government's support for continued membership of the EU and wider shared cultural, economic and social interests."

Ms Sturgeon later made a speech at the World Bank where she said creating a fairer society would strengthen the economy.

She said: "We want to increase our competitiveness to boost our GDP per head. And we want to create a fairer society with a better distribution of income.

"And what we increasingly recognise is that those two challenges - of competitiveness and equality - aren't separate issues. They are connected.

"We would have an even more competitive economy, if we had a fairer society."

Sturgeon on tour

The US trip has consisted of visits to schools and an appearance on one of American television's top chat shows, The Daily Show, hosted by Jon Stewart.

Ms Sturgeon followed in the footsteps of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown by making an appearance on the late-night programme, although the former Labour leaders were interviewed after they left office.

On the first day of her visit, the first minister went to the Daniel Hale Williams elementary school in Brooklyn in the hope of learning lessons from the New York education system on improving attainment in Scottish schools.

Ms Sturgeon also hosted a reception in the United States to thank supporters of the fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art (GSA).

The event in New York's Lincoln Centre Plaza was attended by 200 guests, including GSA alumni and expatriates.

They were told of plans to restore the Grade A-listed art nouveau Mackintosh building that was badly damaged in the blaze on 23 May 2014.

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