Scottish Independence: Secretary Michael Moore Seeks Referendum Talks With Alex Salmond
The Scottish Secretary has asked the First Minister to meet him in Edinburgh this week for talks on the independence referendum.
The invitation follows a week of political debate over the referendum which has seen the UK and Scottish governments clash.
Mr Salmond said he was ready to meet Prime Minister David Cameron "in Edinburgh, in London or wherever" to discuss the way forward, when he attended the summit of the British-Irish Council in Dublin on Friday.
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said the UK Government wants to provide Holyrood with "the legal powers for a fair and decisive referendum".
He said he had already spoken with Mr Salmond proposing talks, and would suggest a meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday.
The UK Government said the first contact between the two administrations should be with the Scottish Secretary, who is leading its referendum consultation, and Mr Salmond.
Mr Moore will be addressing the Confederation of British Industry in Edinburgh on Monday and the Advocate General will be setting out the legal situation with the referendum at Glasgow University on Friday.
Mr Moore said: "Since Tuesday, when I set out our plans for how Scotland can hold a legal referendum, I have spoken to the First Minister and asked him to meet for talks. I have also written to him.
"I was pleased to hear him suggest talks with the UK Government and I want us to meet in Edinburgh this week to start making progress.
"We want this referendum made in Scotland and we should start the work this week in the nation's capital."
He added: "There are real legal problems that need solved and I hope we all share the desire to have a legal, fair and decisive referendum."
No date has been suggested for the poll, though ministers are prepared to set a deadline once the consultation ends on 9 March.
Edinburgh wants to delay a poll until autumn 2014 and to leave open the possibility of a third "devo-max" option on the ballot paper, which would allow Scotland to take on greater self-determination in financial matters but remain part of the Union.