Thai Foreign Ministry: Thai-Saudi relations still normal


BANGKOK, Aug 22 — Diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Thailand remain after Abdalelah Alsheaiby, charge d’ affairs of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Bangkok, was asked to return to his country recently, said Sek Wanamethee, director-general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Information Department.

Mr Sek said Mr Alsheaiby is believed to have traveled home for consultations with the Saudi Arabian government and it is unknown when he would return to Bangkok to resume his work.

During his absence, the second secretary at the embassy has been assigned to work in place of him, said Mr Sek, adding that his absence would not affect the number of Thai Muslims travelig to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The Saudi government granted a quota of 10,400 Thai Muslims allowed to attend this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, scheduled to start October 1.

The quota given for Thai Muslims is considered among the highest to other world countries, said Mr Sek.

Asked whether Mr Alsheaiby’s recall is connected with the abduction and killing of Saudi Arabian businessman Mohammad al-Ruwaili in Bangkok in 1990, Mr Sek said he preferred “not to guess.”

Diplomatic relations between the two countries soured following the murder of four Saudi diplomats in Bangkok in 1989 and 1990 coupled with Mr al-Ruwali’s mysterious disappearance.

Since then Riyadh only maintained charge d’ affaires at its embassy in Bangkok without any sign that a new ambassador would be appointed.