”If we achieve that then we shall win an independent Scotland,” he said.
He was speaking as politicians, public figures and celebrities — including Tayside-born Hollywood stars Brian Cox and Alan Cumming — attended the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign in Edinburgh on Friday.
It was revealed Scots are being asked to sign up to a ”declaration” saying they support the idea of Scotland leaving the UK.
Strategists believe the pledge can appeal to the widest possible audience by simply stating that Scotland should be governed by Scots. The campaign hopes to present itself as a cross-party group committed to the ”broad principle” of independence.
Mr Salmond had stressed the unity of the Yes Scotland campaign, which also includes the Scottish Green Party.
”We unite behind a declaration of self-evident truth,” he said. ”The people who live in Scotland are best placed to make the decisions that affect Scotland.”
The SNP played a lead role in organising the event and are understood to have largely funded it — leading to rumours of splits with non SNP-aligned supporters of independence.
Sharing a platform with Mr Salmond, Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie stressed he was not a ”nationalist”, adding: ”We need the debate about this referendum to encompass a new political culture. I believe the Greens can help to shape that new political culture and I certainly look forward to helping to build that clear and compelling case for Scotland to take a bold and radical step and vote yes to independence in 2014.”
Former Labour politician Dennis Canavan and Scottish Socialist Party leader Colin Fox were also in attendance.
In addition to politicians, the event also included contributions from a host of significant figures from the world of business, academia, media, cinema, music and the arts — with some expressing their public support for independence for the first time.
Hollywood star Brian Cox, who was born in Dundee and has had a decades-long association with the Labour Party, was unveiled as a surprise final speaker.
In a passionate and theatrically delivered 10-minute speech he outlined his reasons for voting Yes.
The Dundee University rector and star of Braveheart said: ”We have arrived at the moment to realise our potential. Please let’s not waste it. Please let’s say Yes.”
The campaign got under way to the tune of One Great Thing by 1980s Scots rock band Big Country.
Sir Sean Connery, one of the most high-profile supporters of Scottish independence, was not present but a message of support from the former James Bond actor was read out by Martin Compston, the star of the Ken Loach film Sweet Sixteen.
The message declared: ”This is a historic day for Scotland. The Yes campaign has centred on a positive vision for Scotland. It is rooted in inclusiveness, equality and that core democratic value that the people of Scotland are the best guardians of their own future.”
Mr Cumming said Scotland had ”blossomed” since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament: ”I believe independence can only add to our potential. The world is waiting for us. I know Scotland is ready.”
After the event he revealed he was ”becoming a resident of Scotland again in order to vote in 2014”.
Other notable speakers included Scots Makar Liz Lochhead, trade unionist Tommy Brennan and broadcaster Blair Jenkins.
Referring to the declaration, Mr Jenkins said: ”Right around Scotland today there are going to be an awful lot of people who are energised and excited by this. What we’re trying to do is give them a way, very quickly, of registering their support.”