Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha officially visited Saudi Arabia as invited by HRH Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
It was the first meeting between leaders of both countries in over 30 years.
In the historic meeting, both sides confirmed intention to solve long-standing bilateral issues and restore bilateral relations.
Gen Prayut said Thailand attached the greatest importance to relations with Saudi Arabia and was doing its best to solve issues and both countries were fully committed to protecting each other’s citizens on their soil.
Both Gen Prayut and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia also discussed regional and international issues and the promotion of comprehensive bilateral cooperation including the appointment of ambassadors who will be deployed in each other’s country.
The mutual deployment of ambassadors expected in the near future will be a part of efforts to restore normal diplomatic relations between both countries. Besides, both governments will set up mechanisms for bilateral consultation to promote cooperation.
On the same occasion, Gen Prayut expressed his condolences on the tragedies that happened in Thailand in 1989 and 1990. He said that Thailand had done whatever it could to resolve issues and was ready to consider any new evidence.
In addition, both sides discussed bilateral economic and trade promotion in accordance with the Saudi Vision 2030 and the Bio-Circular-Green Economy plan of Thailand. They agreed to work out new fields of bilateral cooperation including renewable energy, environment, the application of digital technology for development and cyber security.
Saudi Arabia had downgraded relations with Thailand after incidents in 1989 and 1990 including the murders of three Saudi Arabian diplomats and a Saudi Arabian businessman who was also related to the Saudi Arabian royalty and a Thai worker’s preceding gem and jewelry theft from Saudi Arabia’s royal palace.
Sarawut Aree, director of the Muslim Studies Center of Chulalongkorn University, attributed the restoration of the bilateral relations to the new administration of Saudi Arabia. He said the new administration consisted of people of the new generation who preferred national interest in the future to the problematic past.
Before the strained ties, Thailand had benefited from its trade and tourism relations with Saudi Arabia and exported about 200,000 Thai workers to Saudi Arabia yearly. (TNA)