Scottish vote: Obama calls for 'united' Britain
On the eve of Scotland's historic independence referendum, US President Barack Obama issued a plea for Washington's key ally Britain to remain "strong, robust and united."
American officials have been careful to avoid accusations of interference by insisting that the vote is a choice for the Scottish people, but have made it clear they would prefer Britain not to split.
"The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world," Obama said, in a tweet from his official account. "I hope it remains strong, robust and united."
The note was signed "bo" which is the shorthand used by the White House to signify a Twitter message personally authored and sent by the president, rather than one concocted by his press team.
The countries of England and Scotland have been ruled together as the United Kingdom since 1707, while the territory that was to become the United States split from their empire in 1776.
Later the United States and the United Kingdom became close allies, sticking together through two world wars and the Cold War, and more recently one invasion of Afghanistan and two of Iraq.
Washington policy makers fear that if Scotland votes to leave Britain it will weaken the ally's influence in Europe and the United Nations, and disrupt the work of the NATO military alliance.
© 2014 AFP