Published Friday, 13 January 2012
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Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness attended the talks on Friday alongside Scottish leader Alex Salmond, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The future of Scotland in the UK was discussed, amid continuing controversy over the planned referendum on independence which has seen a rift develop between Mr Salmond and the Westminster Government.
Northern Ireland's leaders expressed their view on the matter for the first time - Mr Robinson said, speaking as an Ulster Scot, he wants Edinburgh to stay in the Union.
"While we recognise that clearly this must be a decision for the people of Scotland to take on their own, it has clear implications for the rest of the United Kingdom," the DUP leader said.
We hope that Scotland will know just how much we want Edinburgh to remain within the United Kingdom
First Minister Peter Robinson
"I speak as a unionist, but also as an Ulster Scot, and clearly I have a massive interest in what happens and what decision the people of Scotland will take.
"Our peoples have moved from one side of that small stretch of water to the other and back again many times over the centuries.
"So we have a massive interest and I don't think we can sit idly by and simply indicate that it's a matter for Scotland - it will have implications for us all."
However Deputy First Minister Mr McGuinness took a decidedly different view.
"During the course of the negotiations that we were involved in, a decision was taken that if the people of the north made a particular decision in some stage in the future, that the British government would abide by that, under the terms of the international treaty," the Sinn Féin representative said.
"I think if we have the right to do that at some stage in the future, then that right should also be accorded to the people of Scotland."
I absolutely believe in the right of the people of Scotland to make their own decision.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness
Mr McGuinness also turned peacemaker - he offered Stormont Castle as venue for what he called the "Scottish peace talks".
He said: "Peter Robinson and I have a castle in Belfast and I'm sure we would be able to make it available for peace talks between Britain and Scotland."
Alex Salmond took the opportunity to invite Nick Clegg and the PM for talks on Scottish independence. Mr Clegg would not get involved in a public row.
Scottish National Party leader Mr Salmond told UTV: "Clearly I think Scotland will become an independent country and the people think that too - Scotland is in no mood to be dictated to and no mood to be talked down to.
"But whatever the constitutional status of Scotland, we'll always be in co-operation with our friends in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic."
David Cameron said on Monday that uncertainty over Scotland's future in the United Kingdom is threatening investment.
The Prime Minister is expected to publish proposals within days that could see a referendum held within 18 months.
Mr Salmond is understood to favour a referendum in 2014 - possibly on the 700th anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn - and wants to retain control over the wording of the question on the ballot paper.
The next meeting of the British-Irish council will happen in Scotland in June.