Prayut urges Qatar to ramp up EEC investment
Prayut meets departing envoy, expresses optimism about medical tourism
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged Qatar to ramp up investment in the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and buy more rice, rubber and palm products.
Gen Prayut's comments came as he met the outgoing Qatari ambassador to Thailand, Jassim Bin Abdulrahman Bin Mohammed Al Thani, who made a farewell courtesy call on the prime minister at Government House on Friday.
Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said Gen Prayut thanked the Qatari ambassador for his vigorous role in fostering ties between the two countries during the past three years.
The prime minister also asked the ambassador to think of as Thailand his second home, Ms Narumon said.
Gen Prayut also expressed gratitude at Qatar granting scholarships to support Thai students' education, the government spokeswoman said, adding that the government was glad that many Qataris have chosen Thailand as a medical tourism destination.
Thailand and Qatar are ready to encourage their people to visit each other's countries to promote mutual understanding at people-to-people level, Ms Narumon said, before adding that Gen Prayut has reaffirmed the Thai government's commitment to working with the new Qatari ambassador to strengthen bilateral ties.
According to Ms Narumon, the outgoing ambassador said Thailand and Qatar have enjoyed dynamic and close relations and cooperation.
There have also been exchanges of visits between the royal families of the two countries and members of the two governments.
Qatar is Thailand's third-largest trading partner in the Middle East and the 24th-largest in the global market.
Qatari visitors to Thailand numbered 35,838 in 2018, with most seeking medical services.
Qatar is eager for Thai hospitals to set up branches in Qatar, as the country hopes to become a medical hub in the Middle East.