Prayut, Saudi Arabian govt discussing ties, projects
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and Wednesday is the result of six years of work by the Foreign Affairs Ministry since trilateral discussions among Bangkok, Riyadh and Bahrain in 2016, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said on Tuesday.
The talks took place at the 2nd Asia Cooperation Dialogue on October 9 and 10, 2016, in the Thai capital.
Prayut had discussed ties and cooperation with Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, then-prime minister of Bahrain and then Saudi foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.
“The government has been working and following up on our relationship with Saudi Arabia for the past six years until PM Prayut made an official visit today [January 25], making him the first Thai PM to visit Saudi Arabia in 30 years,” Don pointed out.
Saudi Arabia downgraded diplomatic ties with Thailand, which were established in 1957, after the theft of around US$20 million (Bt659.7 million) worth of jewels by a Thai janitor in 1989. This sparked a long-standing row that became known as the “Blue Diamond Affair”.
“What happened in the past will not be brought up during this visit as it would not benefit anyone. Furthermore, every party involved in the incident has already been remedied,” said Don. “During this visit as a guest of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, PM Prayut will focus on discussing our future relationship and co-op projects between the two nations,” Don said.
“The Foreign Affairs Ministry also hopes a Thai ambassador will soon be appointed for Saudi Arabia following the success of this visit, which will greatly benefit the governments and people of both countries,” he added.
Prayut and his team will arrive back in Thailand on Thursday at 8.45pm via Don Mueang International Airport, where they will take RT-PCR tests and remain in isolation under Covid-19 preventive measures.