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Cameron and Salmond set for talks

Arrangements will be made in the next few days for David Cameron and Alex Salmond to meet to discuss a referendum on Scottish independence.

The meeting is expected to happen shortly after Mr Salmond publishes his consultation on his referendum plans next Wednesday.

The First Minister has ruled out talks prior to January 25 - which is also the birthday of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns - when he will set out his plans at the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Salmond called for talks with Mr Cameron on Friday, following a week of political wrangling over the referendum. Downing Street said arrangements for the meeting would be made "in the coming days".

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore had asked Mr Salmond for a meeting in Edinburgh this Thursday, however, this has been ruled out by the Scottish Government, because it would come before an announcement at Holyrood.

Mr Salmond has claimed he has unsuccessfully sought meetings with Mr Cameron on six occasions in the past. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will also now be meeting the Scottish First Minister.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "We look forward to these meetings being arranged soon, and we will have them in any order the UK Government wish. The First Minister is of course very happy to meet with the Scottish Secretary, as he always is."

The spokesman said the meetings would take place "very soon" after the publication of the Scottish Government's consultation. "We believe it is to everyone's benefit that these meetings are informed by the published consultation documents of both the UK and Scottish governments, so that Mr Moore, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg can see what our proposals are - and we look forward to the meetings taking place," he said.

Mr Cameron and Mr Salmond will discuss the UK Government's consultation on the legality of an independence referendum. That, and ministers' calls for the Scottish Government to name the date of the referendum, has led to angry exchanges between Westminster and Holyrood over the past week.

Mr Cameron has said he wants a referendum "as soon as possible", but Mr Salmond has announced his preferred timing to be autumn 2014.

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