Washington: The United States stepped into Scotland's knife-edge independence debate on Monday, indicating that it hoped its "special relationship" with ally Britain remained "united."
White House spokesman Josh Earnest stressed that Washington respects the right of Scots to decide their future in Thursday's referendum but hoped for a "strong, robust and united" partner.
The comments mirrored those by President Barack Obama as he stood side-by-side with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels earlier this year.
But, coming three days before Scotland votes on whether to end the 300-year-old union with England, the remarks hint at US concern at a weakening of its key NATO and United Nations Security Council ally.
"This is a decision for the people of Scotland to make," Earnest said.
"We certainly respect the right of individual Scots to make a decision along these lines," he added.
"But ... we have an interest in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united and an effective partner."