The Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has invited the First Minister to meet with him to agree the detail of the referendum process.
Mr Moore wrote to Mr Salmond today saying that civil servants and Ministers from both Governments have made some useful progress but that an agreement can only reached by him and the First Minister.
Ministers from the UK and Scottish Governments agreed yesterday on a timetable to have a Section 30 Order approved at the February Privy Council. This means that both governments should agree the detail of a draft Order in October to enable both the UK and Scottish Parliaments to approve it prior to the Privy Council meeting.
A Section 30 Order requires the approval of both the UK and Scottish Parliaments and would provide the Scottish Parliament with the legal power to hold a referendum on independence.
Michael Moore said:
“It is helpful that we now have an agreement that a Section 30 Order should be approved by the February Privy Council. This will enable the Scottish Government to fulfil their commitment to introduce referendum legislation in early 2013. We are absolutely committed to helping the Scottish Government deliver on their promise to hold a referendum on independence.
“We are eight months on from the two government consultations being launched and the Scottish Government have still to produce their responses. The issues that need to be agreed are no secret and they have not changed since January.
“Civil servants and Ministers from both Governments have cleared some of the path towards reaching an agreement on a legal, fair and decisive referendum At the end of the day however, it is going to be the First Minister and I who will have to reach an agreement.
“I see no reason why we cannot sort this out in the next couple of months. The First Minister promised a referendum on independence. I promise that we will help him deliver a referendum on independence.”