Politics

Saudi crown prince to visit ‘this year’


BANGKOK: The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, will visit Thailand once the government finishes the roadmap to restarting bilateral cooperation between the two kingdoms, Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai said yesterday (Feb 7).

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha talks with HRH Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia during his visit to the kingdom on Jan 25. Photo: Government House

The roadmap will prioritise cooperation in certain areas, in particular energy and labour, Don said.

The remarks were made in response to an enquiry by Senator Jadet Insawang in parliament on the restoration of working ties between the two countries, which followed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Riyadh on Jan 25.

The Saudi crown prince will pay Thailand a visit likely towards the end of the year.

During the visit, he will sign a framework agreement on the implementation of bilateral cooperation in various sectors, Don said, adding the visit will set the tone for the future relationship between Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

He said the Foreign Ministry is coordinating with Saudi officials to determine what will go on the agenda for the next bilateral talks.

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After Prayut met the Saudi crown prince in Riyadh, he urged government officials in both Thailand and Saudi Arabia to move quickly to turn words into action. Cooperation in some sectors could begin in two months, but more complex agreements might take up to six months to implement, he said.

Don said a priority is to find an ambassador to fill the post in Riyadh, which has been vacant for three decades due to strained ties between the two nations.

Saudi Arabia downgraded diplomatic ties with Thailand and adopted a number of measures after the murder of Saudi diplomats and the disappearance of a Saudi businessman in Bangkok following the theft of Saudi state gems in 1989.

These included replacing the head of its diplomatic mission with a charge d’affaires, prohibiting Saudi Arabian nationals from travelling to Thailand, and stopping Thai workers from being employed in the Middle East nation.

Separately, members of the Thai Chamber of Commerce met yesterday to discuss trips to Saudi Arabia starting from Feb 25.





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