Thai PM hails Qatar visit

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DOHA, May 16 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Wednesday that she was satisfied with her official visit to Qatar with four agreements inked to boost ties between the two countries, while the Gulf state promised to lift a Thai chicken import ban within two weeks.

The Thai premier, now on a three-day official visit to Qatar, earlier held a full panel discussion with her Qatari counterpart Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al-Thani who is also foreign minister.

Ms Yingluck praised the close ties between the two countries and thanked the Gulf state for supporting Thailand’s position on its strife-torn southern border region at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

On business talks, Qatar agreed to lift its ban on importing Thai poultry within two weeks, while Thailand pledged to extend stay period from 30 to 90 days for any Qatari seeking medical treatment in the kingdom to boost the domestic tourism industry.

The Thai premier hailed the bilateral talks as successful with the signing of four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) including an agreement on public health cooperation, on employment in Qatar, cultural cooperation and on trade and investment cooperation in agricultural products, particularly halal food.

Thailand also agreed to purchase two million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG from Qatar for electricity production, according to the Thai prime minister.

Ms Yingluck said she has instructed the Board of Investment (BOI) to relax its regulations to facilitate foreign investors as Qatar is interested in investing in Thailand’s several industries including the capital market.

“Qatar gives importance on food security and agreed to buy Thai agricultural produces and further talks will be held to finalise which products are needed by the Qataris,” the premier said, “Both countries will also cooperate on public health issues.’

Ms Yingluck said that Thailand and Qatar have been named by the FIFA Medical and Research Centre (F-MARC) as FIFA Medical Center of Excellence. She said the two countries will work together on medical personnel exchange and joint investment as Qatar is scheduled to host the Wolrd Cup in 2022.

Earlier in the day, Ms Yingluck held talk with executives of ASPETAR, the Qatar Orthopedic and Sports Medical Center, which has been accredited as the first FIFA Medical Center of Excellence in the Middle East.

In Asia, only Japan, Thailand and Qatar have been named FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence.

The Thai premier said she was confident that the Thailand’s world-renowned Thai hospitals would be able to support the role of ASPETAR in the 2022 World Cup. Bangkok Hospital, a private institution, is designated as F-MARC’s Medical Center of Excellence and, has begun work with ASPETAR.

Ms Yingluck is scheduled to leave Qatar Wednesday night and arrive Bangkok Thursday at 7.20 am.