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Diplomacy bonus if Scotland votes Yes

SCOTLAND would benefit from a major diplomacy dividend if it chose independence as new embassies and international organisations moved here, Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster, will argue today in a speech in Vienna.

The Moray MP will claim that there would be a clear economic boost to Scotland following a Yes vote as it would not only become home to a range of new embassies, high commissions and official residences but it would also host foreign and multilateral organisations as well as international conferences.

Noting how Austria had benefitted greatly as a centre for diplomatic and international activity, Mr Robertson pointed to a recent Ernst and Young study, which showed that its status as a centre for diplomacy and international activity had boosted the Austrian economy in 2012 by more than £1bn a year and accounted for 10,000 jobs.

Speaking ahead of a presentation to a business, diplomatic and media audience in Vienna, the Nationalists' foreign affairs spokesman said: "Austria has a remarkable track record as a similarly sized country to Scotland, which makes the most of its international potential with independence. As a sovereign state, it is home to an impressive range of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic representation."

He explained how Austria had more than 300 embassies and multilateral diplomatic missions and an additional wide range of international organisations.

Vienna, he pointed out, hosted the third headquarters of the United Nations and was the main headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as more than 33 further international organisations.

"Austria is also a key international bridge builder; currently chairing the Council of Europe, hosting key ongoing nuclear discussions between the international community and Iran and a wide further range of initiatives.

"All of these activities hugely boost Austria's international standing and secures massive economic advantages to the economy as well as being an international location with excellent direct flights and other travel connections," said Mr Robertson.

He stressed "almost immediately" after independence there would be a move by the international community to establish a presence in Scotland.

"Consulates will be upgraded to embassies and high commissions and a wide range of new missions will be established. Diplomats and embassy staff will be joined by many locally-employed staff. International organisations and agencies will want to have a presence in Scotland as well. Scotland will be a perfect place for the international conferences and events which will follow independence."

The SNP spokesman added: "Scotland has a lot to contribute to the international community as a force for good."

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