SEPANG, Nov 5 – Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrived today for a one-day official visit to Malaysia that will see him mainly discuss the latest developments on the downing of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17. Rutte flew in by MAS Flight MH19 to the KL International Airport (KLIA) at 7.30 am and was greeted by Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri.
This first visit by Rutte to Malaysia since he took office as the prime minister of Netherlands on Oct 14, 2010, is set to strengthen the existing excellent relations and cooperation between the two countries. Accompanied by senior officials from the Netherlands Foreign Affairs Ministry, Rutte is scheduled to have a restricted meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak after he is accorded an official welcome at the Dataran Perdana in Putrajaya.
He is scheduled to attend an official lunch at the prime minister’s residence, Seri Perdana, also in Putrajaya. According to Wisma Putra, the two leaders are also expected to meet with the Malaysian officials who were involved in the MH17 recovery operations after their meeting. Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft is believed to have been shot down over the troubled country. There were 193 Dutch nationals and 44 Malaysians among the passengers on board, and the remains of all the Malaysian victims have been identified. The Wisma Putra statement also said that Rutte’s visit would also provide an opportunity for him and Najib to exchange views on bilateral matters as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.