Nicola Sturgeon has told the United Nations that Scotland is ready to play its part in world affairs.
The Scottish First Minister addressed UN diplomats in New York yesterday as part of her week-long US tour. Ms Sturgeon drew attention to Scotland’s credentials as a “good global citizen” while stressing that despite being a small nation, the country could have a “big, positive and powerful voice.”
The speech was to highlight Scotland’s role in supporting and training women peacekeepers.
Ms Sturgeon told the Associated Press that there had been enormous interest in the United States on the UK’s decision last year to leave the European Union and the Scottish Parliament’s vote on March 28 to seek a new referendum on independence from Westminster.
The First Minister said: “I’m very confident that Scotland will be an independent country in my lifetime - well within my lifetime - and take its seat at the United Nations alongside all the other independent countries of the world, large and small.”
I’m very confident that Scotland will be an independent country in my lifetime.Nicola Sturgeon
She added that Theresa May’s refusal to grant another poll on Scotland’s place in the Union was “not a sustainable one.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “Simply saying now is not the time only takes you so far before you have to answer the question, well when is the time?,”
“I might put forward the timescale I think makes sense, and if she doesn’t agree with that then we should discuss what the alternative might be. I’ll set out in due course the steps I intend to take next.”
The SNP leader has been criticised back home by rivals after businesses sounded the alarm over the state of the Scottish economy when figures revealed output shrank at the end of last year.
The Scottish Government was urged told to drop its calls for a second independence referendum and focus on economic growth amid claims that ministers are “out of touch” over the impact of their policies.
Ms Sturgeon rejected suggestions that it was ironic visiting a global body that promotes unity while she domestically she calls for separation from the Union.
“My mission is not to break anything,” she said. “I want Scotland to be independent not from any insular or separatist motivation, but because I believe that countries should govern themselves.
“One of the reasons I want Scotland to be independent is so we can play a positive, powerful, bigger role in an entirely non aggressive way.
Scotland is working with the United Nations to offer training to women in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other conflict areas in the Middle East to help them play a larger role in promoting peace.
Last year, 50 women took part in the Scottish programme and the same number will take part in the initiative every year until 2021.
Ms Sturgeon is scheduled to address the Women in the World summit in New York today.