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NICOLA Sturgeon has said she hopes to encourage greater investment and co-operation from the US as she prepares to head to Washington, DC.
The First Minister will speak at the Brookings Institution think-tank in the US capital tomorrow afternoon and meet congressional groups and business leaders during her two-day visit.
She said Scotland and the US could work together on issues like climate change and the crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine.
The Conservatives have called the trip an “indy tour” and accused the First Minister of promoting independence abroad at taxpayers’ expense.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The USA remains one of Scotland’s most important international and trading partners, and our biggest source of inward investment.
“Our two nations share a strong relationship – one which we can strengthen further still by working together to tackle pressing global issues such as the climate emergency, gender inequality, and the crisis resulting from Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
“We share many priorities and face many of the same challenges, and by working together we can better address these. Both of us are focused on rebuilding our economies following the impact of Covid, while simultaneously aiming to advance, and seize, the opportunities of decarbonisation.”
The First Minister stressed the need for countries to deal with the climate crisis.
She continued: “Six months ago, COP26 brought the world to Glasgow united around one issue – the climate crisis.
“Global attention since then has understandably been elsewhere, but the issues discussed at COP26 remain pressing.
“The progress made in the Glasgow Climate Pact showed the value in engaging the key players face to face, and that is why opportunities to do so as we emerge from the pandemic are so important. However, what was agreed then must be acted upon with urgency.
"Making the most of our longstanding relationship and our close trade and investment links has ongoing benefits for Scotland and the USA.
"The Scottish Government wants to encourage more investment and even deeper collaboration on key issues further, and as I visit the USA for the first time in three years, I look forward to building upon the already strong ties between our two countries."
Earlier this week, the First Minister said she would "make clear" the impact overturning Roe v Wade will have on women's rights when she visits America.