Saudi crown prince to visit 'this year'

Saudi crown prince to visit 'this year'

Mohammad: Restoring Thai relations
Mohammad: Restoring Thai relations

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, will visit Thailand once the government finishes the roadmap to restarting bilateral cooperation between the two kingdoms, Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai said on Monday.

The roadmap will prioritise cooperation in certain areas, in particular energy and labour, Mr Don said.

The remarks were made in response to an enquiry by Senator Jadet Insawang in parliament on the restoration of working ties between the two countries, which followed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's visit to Riyadh on Jan 25.

Once the roadmap is drawn up, the Saudi crown prince will pay Thailand a visit, Mr Don said, adding the visit is likely to take place later in the year.

During the visit, he will sign a framework agreement on the implementation of bilateral cooperation in various sectors, Mr Don said, adding the visit will set the tone for the future relationship between Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

He said the Foreign Ministry is coordinating with Saudi officials to determine what will go on the agenda for the next bilateral talks.

After Gen Prayut met the Saudi crown prince in Riyadh, he urged government officials in both Thailand and Saudi Arabia to move quickly to turn words into action. Cooperation in some sectors could begin in two months, but more complex agreements might take up to six months to implement, he said. Mr Don said a priority is to find an ambassador to fill the post in Riyadh, which has been vacant for three decades due to strained ties between the two nations.

Separately, members of the Thai Chamber of Commerce were scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss trips to Saudi Arabia starting from Feb 25.

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