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Prayut to visit Saudi Arabia to foster ties

Prayut to visit Saudi Arabia to foster ties

BANGKOK: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha lands in Saudi Arabia later today (Jan 24) for an official two-day visit to strengthen relations, with further details to be released after the weekly cabinet meeting before his departure.

By Bangkok Post

Monday 24 January 2022, 10:18AM

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha walks in Government House on Jan 18, 2022. He will visit Saudi Arabia tomorrow (Jan 25) and Wednesday. Photo: Government House photo

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha walks in Government House on Jan 18, 2022. He will visit Saudi Arabia tomorrow (Jan 25) and Wednesday. Photo: Government House photo

The cabinet meeting was brought forward from tomorrow to facilitate the trip, reports the Bangkok Post.

Prayut was invited by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman, also Saudi Arabia’s deputy prime minister and minister of defence, according to a Thai government source.

This is the first official government visit in 30 years, said the source, adding the priority is to strengthen bilateral relations.

Attempts to revitalise Thai-Saudi relations have been a key agenda item of the Prayut administration.

Prayut met a number of Middle East officials during the second Asia Cooperation Dialogue in Bangkok in 2016, including then Saudi foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, then prime minister of Bahrain.

Since the meeting, Thailand and Saudi Arabia have been continuing their work to revitalise relations.

Prayut later met Prince Mohammad during a G20 meeting in Japan’s Osaka on June 28, 2019 to further discuss bilateral ties.

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In addition, foreign affairs ministers from both sides have from time to time met on several occasions to talk about various matters.

Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai, paid an official visit to the Middle Eastern kingdom in Jan 2020, following an invitation from his Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

Gen Prayut’s visit to Saudi Arabia is expected to end on Wednesday.

In the past, Saudi Arabia resolved to downgrade diplomatic ties with Thailand and adopt a number of measures. These included replacing the head of its diplomatic mission with the charge d’affaires, prohibiting Saudi Arabian nationals from travelling to Thailand and stopping Thai workers from being employed in the Middle Eastern nation.

These measures had consequently hit travel between Thailand and Saudi Arabia and bilateral cooperation on labour, trade and investments.

Once relations between Saudi Arabia and Thailand have returned to normal, these negative measures are expected to be lifted so both nations can once again benefit from renewed cooperation, observers told the Bangkok Post.

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JohnC | 25 January 2022 - 09:45:50

If he wants to foster ties with muslims then he should be starting in his own country. The way many buddhist Thais treat their muslim countrymen is outright disgraceful. Looking down their noses at them like they are better. No wonder there is so much anger from them.

Kurt | 24 January 2022 - 14:59:05

Relations after 30 years return to normal. Is mr Prayut returning the blue diamond + a bag of diamonds stolen by a Thai from the Saudi royal palace? Red this morning the story about it again, including the murder in Thailand of 3 Saudies involved in recovering the diamonds.


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