Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail arrived in Brussels yesterday to lead the Malaysian delegation to the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit on Oct 18 and 19.
Wan Azizah and her delegation arrived at the Brussels-Zaventem International Airport at 6.45pm local time ysterday (12.45am today in Malaysia) and were received by Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah; Ambassador of Malaysia to Belgium and Head of Mission of Malaysia to the European Union Hasnudin Hamzah and his wife, and officials from the Embassy of Malaysia in Belgium.
This is Wan Azizah’s first visit to Europe since her appointment as Malaysia’s deputy prime minister on May 21.
Her maiden visit is significant towards enhancing bilateral cooperation on various issues and fields of common interest.
She is expected to explain and discuss matters concerning Malaysian policies after Pakatan Harapan took over power from Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election in May.
Saifuddin said Wan Azizah is expected to attend the full sessions of the summit, deliver a statement at the second plenary session, as well as have three bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit.
She is slated to hold bilateral meetings with the prime ministers of Netherlands, Ireland and Norway.
"This is the first official working visit to Europe by the high-ranking minister of the New Malaysia. Representing a new government that is more comfortable discussing issues like democracy, freedom and human rights, our deputy prime minister will showcase what the New Malaysia is all about,” said Saifuddin.
He said Wan Azizah will also be a good ambassador for Muslim countries as Malaysia is among the leading emerging Muslim democracies in the world.
The two-day Asem Summit will bring together the heads of state or government of 51 European and Asian countries, representatives of the European Union (EU) and the secretary-general of Asean.
The Asem member nations represent 60 percent of the world's population and contribute to 55 percent of global trade, 65 percent of the global gross domestic product and 75 percent of global tourism.