Wales' Nato summit will be historic, says secretary general

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it was the biggest Nato summit and would benefit the nation as a whole

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Nato's secretary general says the summit in Wales will be "historic" and provide a positive economic impact to Wales.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it was the biggest Nato summit and would benefit the nation as a whole.

It was taking place when Russia's "illegal military actions" in Ukraine had "dramatically changed" Europe's security, he said.

Barack Obama will join world leaders at the September summit at Celtic Manor.

Mr Rasmussen told BBC Sunday Politics Wales said: "There's a lot of positive economic spin-off from such an event. [There will be] more than 50 nations and they all bring bigger or smaller delegations so you will see thousands and thousands of people going to Wales.

"Of course, there is the very positive economic spin-off, but you shouldn't underestimate the public relations aspect of this event - it's the biggest event ever in Nato's history and will be broadcast all over the world."

'Effective defence'

"This will be an historic summit. We will take very important decisions regarding Nato's future, so for many many years to come this will be remembered as The Wales Summit and this will give a lot of positive public relations effect."

He said Nato had enhanced its policing of air space and had deployed naval vessels to the Baltic and Black Seas following Russia's action in Ukraine.

"We conduct exercises on the ground and we will not hesitate to take further steps if necessary to ensure continued effective defence and protection of our allies.

"We have tried to develop a partnership with Russia, but apparently Russia considers us not a partner but an adversary and of course we have to adapt to that."

Mr Rasmussen would not be drawn on what would happen if Scotland decided to leave the UK as a result of September's independence referendum.

Afghanistan

"I'm definitely not going to interfere with domestic British politics. It's a hypothetical situation so we haven't discussed it.

"If the Scottish people were to decide on independence, and if an independent Scotland were to apply for membership of NATO, that would be addressed exactly like applications from other nations."

The secretary general also paid tribute to the British service men and women - many from Wales - who have lost their lives in Afghanistan.

"They have really made a difference in Afghanistan," he said.

"Their sacrifice has not been in vain. On the contrary, we have a better security situation. "

He said it was important that Nato did not leave behind a security vacuum in Afghanistan.

Sunday Politics is on BBC 1 Wales at 11:00 BST on Sunday.

Celtic Manor Resort, Newport Leaders from around 60 countries are expected to attend the Nato summit at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport

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