Obama hails Scotland's 'No' vote on independence

 Asserting that the US has "no closer ally" than the UK, President Barack Obama today hailed the result of Scotland's historic referendum that rejected independence from the union with England and Wales.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 19, 2014, 21:02 PM IST

Washington: Asserting that the US has "no closer ally" than the UK, President Barack Obama today hailed the result of Scotland's historic referendum that rejected independence from the union with England and Wales.

"We welcome the result of yesterday's referendum on Scottish independence and congratulate the people of Scotland for their full and energetic exercise of democracy," Obama said in a statement after the pro-independence camp was decisively defeated with over 55 per cent of Scotland voting to remain in the UK.

The results were in from all 32 council areas and the "No" side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for "Yes".

The margin of victory for the 'Better Together' campaign -? 55.3 per cent to 44.7 per cent -- was far greater than anticipated by the final opinion polls which said the referendum was on knife edge.

"Through debate, discussion, and passionate yet peaceful deliberations, they reminded the world of Scotland's enormous contributions to the UK and the world, and have spoken in favor of keeping Scotland within the United Kingdom," Obama said.

"We have no closer ally than the United Kingdom, and we look forward to continuing our strong and special relationship with all the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as we address the challenges facing the world today," he said.

Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also welcomed the results of the referendum, saying "This is a welcome vote."

"The Scottish people's decision to remain part of the United Kingdom will allow our robust cooperation on security, humanitarian, and economic issues to continue uninterrupted. I look forward to further deepening the exceptional relations between our countries," Royce said.