PARIS, March 17 ― Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail arrived here Sunday for a four-day working visit to France.
The commercial jet Dr Wan Azizah flew on arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport at 6.45am local time (1.45pm Malaysian time) and she was later welcomed by Malaysian Ambassador to France Datuk Dr Azfar Mohamad Mustafar and wife Datin Che Norhayati Soib and embassy staff at the hotel she will be staying.
This is her first working visit to France since being appointed Deputy Prime Minister on May 12 last year.
During the visit, she will be chairing two Unesco Management of Social Transformation (MOST) meetings.
Dr Wan Azizah will be chairing the MOST Bureau meeting on March 18 and the 14th Session of the Intergovernmental Council (IGC) for MOST which will take place on March 19 and 20 at the Unesco headquarters in Place De Fontenoy here.
She will be chairing the two meetings in her capacity as Women, Family and Community Development Minister. Malaysia holds the president’s chair of the IGC Bureau for the 2017-2019 term.
MOST is a science programme involving 35 Unesco members on social transformation to encourage social science research to be used by policy-makers at the global level. The members include France, Turkey, Russia, Argentina, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
Besides chairing the two meetings, Dr Wan Azizah has a packed schedule with various events lined up starting with attending a briefing with the MOST secretariat on the meeting agendas at a hotel here shortly after arrival.
The same night (March 17), Dr Wan Azizah will host a dinner for the Malaysian diaspora in France.
On the second day, apart from chairing the IGC Bureau Meeting, Dr Wan Azizah is also scheduled to attend the Malaysian Tropical Fruits Festival in the French capital to promote Malaysian fruits to the Unesco delegates.
On the third day, Dr Wan Azizah will hold a bilateral meeting with Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay which is seen as extremely important to forward Malaysia’s position on social issues.
The deputy prime minister would also be holding a meeting with French MPs and political leaders which holds a significant agenda, that is to convince them that Malaysian palm oil is good for the European market.
The protracted issue of palm oil where the Europeans reject Malaysian palm oil will be addressed in this meeting. The Deputy Prime Minister will try to assure the French that Malaysian oil palm plantations do not cause deforestation as claimed by Europe.
During the visit, Dr Wan Azizah is also scheduled to visit the Grand Mosque of Paris before holding a meeting with the French Minister of State for Disabled People, Sophie Cluzel, to exchange views and efforts of both countries to help the disabled.
On the last day of the visit, Dr Wan Azizah will meet Anouar Kbibech, the vice-president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith.
After that, Dr Wan Azizah will attend the 14th Session of the IGC MOST meeting and will return home after it ends at noon. — Bernama