Alex Salmond: Scotland would be a ‘good world citizen’

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by a Newsnet reporter

First Minister Alex Salmond has been making the case before a global audience for Scotland to take its place in the world as an independent nation.  Speaking in an interview with David Frost on the satellite news channel Al Jazeera, Mr Salmond spoke of his determination that Scotland would be a “good world citizen”.

The First Minister outlined how Scotland plans to fulfil its international responsibilities in areas like defence, overseas aid and technology transfer.

Questioned by Mr Frost about whether he would still want independence even if Scotland were to be worse off, Mr Salmond replied:

“Luckily I don’t have that dilemma.  I think the case for independence is a fundamental one.  It is about Scotland as a nation and nations have a right to self-determination.  Nations usually are better to govern themselves as opposed to let somebody else do it for them.

“Secondly … independence would be good for the Scottish economy and people, so I don’t have that dilemma.”  Mr Salmond went on to explain that an independent Scotland would have a lower proportion of national debt that most of its European neighbours, and would be financially backed up assets unmatched by any other European neighbour apart from Norway.

Speaking of Scotland’s future relationships with the other nations of the British Isles, Mr Salmond said: “We’ll continue to be the best of neighbours, the best of friends with all of the other countries in these islands, but we’re also determined to be good world citizens.”

The First Minister added:  

“We want to be fully participating in the European Union and in the international community. With independence, Scotland gets a prosperous economy and a just society and the ability to determine our own future.”

On defence, the First Minister said Scotland would be “attuned” to the needs of the country and Scotland would cooperate with allies across the world.

He added: “We would be happy and willing to take part in international operations if sanctioned by the United Nations.

“One of the ambitions we have is to see Scotland as a good world citizen, a country not prepared to sanction or to endorse illegal conflicts like the war in Iraq, but a country, of course, willing to help in UN sanctions, operations, to lend a helping hand.

“Not just in military or in peacekeeping operations, but also in terms of our international obligations of aid policy and technology transfer – which perhaps above all is where Scotland can make a good contribution to this planet as a good world citizen.”

Mr Salmond’s interview with David Frost can be viewed in full on the Al Jazeera website, click here.