President Obama 'Backs UK Staying Together'
Barack Obama has chipped into the Scottish independence debate, saying the UK has "worked pretty well" and been an "extraordinary partner" to the US.
'No' campaigners have seized on the US president's comments as evidence that the UK is better off staying together.
The president was asked about the issue during a joint news conference with David Cameron after the G7 summit in Brussels.
He told reporters: "There is a referendum process in place and it is up to the people of Scotland.
"The United Kingdom has been an extraordinary partner to us. From the outside at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well.
"And we obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies we will ever have remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner.
"But ultimately these are decisions that are to be made by the folks there."
Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, was quick to respond to the president's apparent backing of the status quo.
"As President Obama rightly observes, the decision on Scotland's future is up to the people of Scotland," said a SNP statement.
It continued: "An independent Scotland will mean that America has two great friends and allies here rather than one.
"We are focused on securing a vote for independence this September and making Scotland a land of opportunity - and our message to the people of Scotland in the campaign in the months ahead is: 'Yes We Can'."
Prime Minister David Cameron tried to take a somewhat measured tone when asked about the president's comments.
He said: "Of course it's the case that there are many people around the world who look at the family of nations that is the United Kingdom and admire what we have achieved together and hope that we stay together."
Other campaigners against independence put a stronger spin on Mr Obama's words.
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: "For the many Scots who have decided or are even leaning towards a No vote, the endorsement of such a powerful and iconic figure will give them real confidence in their argument.
"President Obama clearly recognises the value of working in partnership and his views on the United Kingdom are spot on.
"Scotland stands that little bit taller when we work with our neighbours and this is acknowledged by our friends across the Atlantic."
Sky's Darren McCaffrey said some 'No' supporters were now preparing to use Mr Obama's image on their campaign leaflets.
The independence vote takes place on September 18, 2014.