Obama praises Scotland after vote rejecting independence

President Obama congratulated Scotland Friday on their "full and energetic exercise of democracy," after voters there rejected an initiative to break away from the United Kingdom and form an independent nation.

"Through debate, discussion and passionate yet peaceful deliberations, they reminded the world of Scotland's enormous contributions to the U.K. and the world, and have spoken in favor of keeping Scotland within the United Kingdom," Obama said of the 55 percent-45 percent vote.

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The president added that the U.S. has "no closer ally than the United Kingdom" and that he looked forward to continuing America's "special relationship" with each member country within the U.K.

Ahead of the vote, the president repeatedly appeared to signal he did not support Scottish independence, although White House officials insisted it was the voters' choice to make. 

In a tweet on Wednesday, Obama called the U.K. "an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world."

"I hope it remains strong, robust, and united," Obama said.

The tweet largely echoed comments the president made while attending Group of 7 meetings in June.

"We obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have remains strong, robust, united, and an effective partner," Obama said. "But ultimately, these are decisions that are to be made by the folks there."

Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonAppeals court allows Texas abortion law to stand Bill Clinton hospitalized with sepsis Democrats explained: Mandaters gonna mandate MORE more explicitly endorsed the campaign against leaving the United Kingdom. He issued a statement before the vote saying he hoped "the Scots will inspire the world with a high turnout and a powerful message of both identity and inclusion."