The First Minister is confident his “vision for a flourishing, fairer, progressive, independent Scotland” will win the day in the referendum on the country’s future.
Alex Salmond signed an historic agreement with Prime Minister David Cameron in Edinburgh on Monday.
The pact, dubbed the “Edinburgh Agreement”, will allow the Scottish Parliament to hold a referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.
Mr Salmond believes he has a stronger case to take to the voters than the ‘No’ campaign.
Speaking after signing the agreement with Mr Cameron, he said: "It paves the way for the most important decision our country of Scotland has made in several hundred years.
"It is, in that sense, an historic day for Scotland and a major step forward in Scotland's home rule journey."
The First Minister said securing an agreement on the process of the referendum meant there would be "respect" for the outcome "whatever it is". It also allows the SNP to now deal with the "substantive" arguments involved in devolution, he added.
Mr Salmond added: "Do I believe that independence will win this campaign? Yes, I do. I believe we'll win it by setting out a positive vision for a better future for our country economically and also, crucially, socially."
Mr Salmond said: "The Scottish Government has an ambitious vision for Scotland: a prosperous and successful European country, reflecting Scottish values of fairness and opportunity, promoting equality and social cohesion. A Scotland with a new place in the world - as an independent nation.
"Today's historic signing of the Edinburgh Agreement marks the start of the campaign to fulfil that ambition. It will be a campaign during which we will present our positive, ambitious vision for a flourishing, fairer, progressive, independent Scotland - a vision I am confident will win the argument and deliver a Yes vote in autumn 2014."
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