President Barack Obama arrives in Wales ahead of Nato summit

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
US President Barack Obama leaving Air Force One on arrival in the UK

Barack Obama has arrived in Wales for the Nato summit, the first US president in office to visit the country.

The Marine One helicopter carrying the US president dropped down into the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport shortly after 19:30 BST.

Earlier, he flew into RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on Air Force One following a visit to Estonia.

David Cameron is also in Wales and about 60 world leaders will join them for the summit starting on Thursday.

Organisers have said the event will put Wales "on the world stage".

Image source, AFP/Getty
Image caption,
The president's Marine One helicopter touching down in Wales for the historic summit

President Obama's helicopter landed on the Celtic Manor Resort golf course and he was expected to stay in Newport overnight.

Speaking in Newport on the eve of the summit, Mr Cameron was asked how he squared the positivity surrounding the event with his recent criticism of public services, including the health service, in Wales.

He also said a deal on who would pay for rail electrification in Wales was close and, with reference to further devolution, said he had given the people of Wales the opportunity to have their say when they had asked for more choices on extra powers.

With final preparations now complete at the Celtic Manor Resort, its chief operating officer, Ian Edwards, said he hoped the summit would act as a "springboard to attract more international events to Wales".

He added it was on a totally different scale to anything it had hosted before.

Mr Edwards said: "The really important thing for Wales is to be on that world stage.

"This isn't about The Celtic Manor, it's about Wales and showing how we can pull things together and put on an event like this," he said.

Media caption,
President Obama transferred from Air Force One to a waiting helicopter
Image source, Welsh government
Image caption,
Carwyn Jones and Stephen Crabb welcome Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Image source, PA
Image caption,
David Cameron meeting local producers who have helped supply goods and produce for the summit in Newport

President Obama and Mr Cameron will a school in Newport, on Thursday, the White House has confirmed.

Children at the school, which has about 230 pupils, are among students from across Wales who have written postcards to world leaders attending the summit telling them what they would like to see changed in the world by the time they are adults. Their messages of hope for the future will be presented to Nato leaders at the summit.

They include Natalie Hamlin, 10, from Ysgol Pencae in Cardiff's wish for "not just my family to be happy and safe, but for everyone else's too".

A message from Kian Wyn Thomas, 10, from Ysgol Yr Hendre, in Caernarfon, said: "When I am grown up I hope that everyone is treated equally, whatever the colour of their skin."

Media caption,
The Celtic Manor - with a military aircraft at the entrance

Video message

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrived on Wednesday morning, along with members of the press and international media who will cover the summit.

A welcome video featuring messages from stars such as Matthew Rhys and Katherine Jenkins will be shown to the president before his arrival in Wales.

Mr Jones raised the idea when he met the US ambassador.

The video was produced by the Welsh government as part of a range of activities designed to promote Wales to Nato visitors as a destination for business and tourism.

Media caption,
Matthew Rhys is one of the stars who recorded a message for the president

Mr Jones said: "The campaign has focused on Wales' strengths as a compact and connected country for trade, and a place where universities, industry and business work in close proximity.

"We want everyone who comes here for the summit to have a warm welcome and know what Wales can offer."

People have been warned to expect congestion on the roads, especially between Newport and Cardiff city centre where events for the dignitaries are being held, as well as around Cardiff airport.

Road closures began being put in place in Cardiff on Wednesday evening along key city centre routes, and will be in force until Friday evening.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Security has been stepped up around the Celtic Manor in Newport ahead of the Nato summit
Image source, PA
Image caption,
The Royal Navy's newest Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan docks in Cardiff on Tuesday
Image caption,
French anti-submarine frigate La Motte-Picquet arrived in Cardiff on Wednesday afternoon
Image source, Cardiff airport
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Cardiff Airport has built a temporary terminal to welcome delegates

The airport has been gearing up for the arrival of world leaders and delegates with the opening of a temporary terminal to handle all Nato-related traffic.

There is a no fly zone over Newport and Cardiff but there will be test flights.

Warships have also been arriving at Cardiff docks ahead of the summit, with four more ships expected to arrive in Cardiff at high tide on Wednesday.

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb visited St Woolos Primary School and Lliswerry High School in Newport on Wednesday to speak to pupils about Nato and the importance of the summit.

Rhythmic gymnast Frankie Jones, who won six medals at this summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, is among the guests invited to a reception hosted by the Prince of Wales at the Celtic Manor on Thursday.

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