Big hopes pinned on Prayut’s visit to Saudi Arabia next week

THE official announcement today (Jan. 23) that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will be visiting Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 25-26, immediately attracted attention both in Thailand and the world stage because relations between the two countries have been at a standstill for over three decades, Matichon newspaper said.

Ties between the two countries plunged followed a diplomatic row over jewellery theft more than three decades ago and it was only today that there was good news from the Government House of Prayut’s visit to Saudi Arabia as a guest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud with whom he has an audience on Tuesday with this confirmed by the Saudi Al-Arabiya television station. 

This is a sign that there should be good news following the visit, possibly normalisation of relations between the two countries.

Restoring ties with Saudi Arabia has been the priority of many governments. However a move towards a tangible improvement occurred at the 2nd Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit that took place during October 9-10, 2016 in Bangkok. 

A three-way meeting took place between Prayut, late Bahrain Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa  and Saudi Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.

Prayut then held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, who is also the country’s deputy prime minister and defence minister, during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28, 2019.

The two countries’ foreign ministers periodically discussed details of the restoration of diplomatic relations with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai visiting Saudi Arabia at the invitation of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Jan. 2020.

All this paved the way for Prayut’s visit to Saudi Arabia next week when the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia is expected to be announced. 

CAPTION:

Top: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha greeting Saudi Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir before their meeting in October 2016. Photo: Matichon

 

TNR staff

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