First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces USA trip
SNP leader to meet with key figures in Washington DC
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to visit the USA next week to "underline Scotland's key interests in global issues" as her administration steps up its international presence.
The trip comes as the Scottish Government says it is working to strengthen the country's "international relationships, presence and voice" and "become more active internationationally".
The government’s Global Affairs Framework emphasises the "strong focus" on Europe and North America as well as priorities on the climate, Ukraine, Covid recovery, gender equality and Brexit. The foreword to the document describes the latter as "disastrous and chaotic".
It also states that Scotland's global contribution "would be significantly enhanced with the powers of independence rather than devolution" and that "the Scottish Government’s prospectus for enhanced international relations as an independent state will be published in the run-up to the independence referendum".
Sturgeon will deliver a keynote speech at the influential Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, meet with "key congressional groups" and hold talks with the executives of companies "operating across the Atlantic", the Scottish Government says.
The meeting comes six months after Sturgeon met with US President Joe Biden when he travelled to Scotland for Cop26.
Sturgeon said: "The Covid-19 pandemic and the climate and biodiversity emergencies prove in the starkest possible way that we live in an interconnected world and it is more important than ever that Scotland plays its part. The crisis in Ukraine underlines how interconnected these challenges are, and all countries have a role to play in meeting them.
"We are determined that Scotland continues to be a good global citizen, making a constructive contribution to addressing global challenges such as climate change.
"Our international activity creates opportunities at home, broadens our horizons, attracts high-quality investment and ultimately benefits our people - no more evident than in Scotland’s longstanding relationship and strong trade ties with the USA, which this visit will build upon further.
"By being open and connected and making a positive contribution internationally, we give ourselves the greatest possible chance of building a successful country. In this way we can make a contribution to the world that is welcomed, valued and helps us all."
The Scottish Government currently has offices in eight locations including Washington, Dublin and Beijing. Its Brussels office will be beefed-up under the new framework and a new team will be established in Copenhagen this year, with Warsaw to follow in 2023.
On Europe, the framework states: "We believe that rejoining the EU at the earliest opportunity as an independent country represents the best future for Scotland."