On the eve of Newport hosting the largest gathering of world leaders ever to assemble in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to Argus reporter BECKY CARR about the opportunity the Nato summit poses for Wales.
TRAFFIC disruption and school closures should not stop the people of Wales from viewing the summit as a time to put their country's "best face to the world", said Prime Minister David Cameron.
In a "fantastically important time for Nato", Mr Cameron will tomorrow welcome more than 60 heads of state to the Celtic Manor in Newport to begin a two-day international conference tackling the future of Afghanistan, the crisis in Ukraine and the threat of terrorism.
He told the Argus during an interview at 10 Downing Street that he believes that people will be talking about this week's summit for "many years to come" and there will be a great legacy for Wales as thousands of visitors will get to see its impressive industrial heritage, the surrounding countryside and "what a beautiful place it is".
Mr Cameron said: "I hope it will get children in Wales interested in finding out what Nato is all about."
Last week, the UK threat level from international terrorism was increased from substantial to severe but Mr Cameron said he did not believe the decision was specifically related to the Newport-based summit.
He said: "We have always built the summit on the basis of a severe threat level. The decision wasn't mine, it was the Home Office. It's their job, politicians merely report on it. It's not an additional cost for the Nato summit because we planned it on the basis of severe."
When asked about protesters taking to the streets of Newport, Mr Cameron said: "The fact is these international conferences seem to attract protesters.
"G8 and G20 have had some massive protests even when those G8 and G20 conferences are making huge decisions to increase aid budgets.
"Nato is moving to make some very clear statements about defence and security", he added, "such as stopping one country from invading another.
"These are statements that 99 per cent of people would agree with."
One of the big issues due to be discussed at the summit is Nato's relationship with Russia and any long-term measures that can deter the country's aggression.
Mr Cameron added: "At the end of the day Vladimir Putin is a very strong Russian nationalist who finds it very hard to come to terms with the fact countries in his neighbourhood should be able to make their own decisions. That's the problem we have fundamentally. "
Mr Cameron said he had recently spoken to President Barack Obama about his Welsh visit and confirmed that the president was looking forward to being the first serving US president to visit the country.
The pair will visit a Welsh school to meet students tomorrow morning before heading to the Celtic Manor where they will participate in an official photograph with world leaders ahead of the conference.