Alex Salmond will sit down today with the Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, for the first discussions between the British and Scottish governments on plans for an independence referendum.
Aides to Mr Moore downplayed expectations of any significant announcements emerging from the meeting and said they expected "several" further rounds of talks in the coming months.
The Scottish First Minister's advisers insisted that plans for an independence referendum must have "no strings attached" from Westminster.
Coalition ministers have said a vote on whether Scotland should remain in the UK should take place sooner rather than later. However the SNP administration in Edinburgh does not want the vote on the country's constitutional future to be held until autumn 2014.
There could also be disagreement over the Scottish Government's refusal to rule out including a third option of greatly enhanced powers for Holyrood – or "devo-max" – on the ballot paper.
Mr Salmond has already said he wants to ask voters: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?" A spokesman for the First Minister said: "We have put our detailed proposals for the referendum out to consultation so that matters such as a possible devo-max option, and votes for 16- and 17-year-olds, can be discussed and decided with people across Scottish society."Reuse content