Saudi restores full ties with Thailand, to explore joint investment

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visits Saudi Arabia, meets Saudi Crown Prince



Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. — SPA
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. — SPA

By AP

Published: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 1:37 AM

Saudi Arabia has ordered the restoration of full diplomatic ties with Thailand and said the countries agreed to trade ambassadors

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday ordered the restoration of full diplomatic ties with Thailand and said the countries agreed to trade ambassadors, closing the chapter on three decades of mistrust and hostility between the nations.

The rapprochement came during Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s official visit to the Kingdom, which marked the highest-level meeting between the countries since relations soured over the 1989 political scandal. Saudi Arabia downgraded its diplomatic relations with Thailand over the theft that led to a string of mysterious killings and became known as the Blue Diamond affair.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, held talks with Prayuth agreed to bury the hatchet and boost the nations’ economic, security, and political ties, said a statement published on the official Saudi Press Agency, SPA, late Tuesday after meetings at the royal palace.

The countries will explore joint investment in fields ranging from energy and petrochemicals to tourism and hospitality, the statement added. Tourism is a key element of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s economic reform plan meant to wean the kingdom off oil.

Saudi Arabian Airlines, meanwhile, said it would start direct flights from Riyadh to Bangkok in May, promoting Thailand in a Twitter post as “the land of culture”.

The Thai government on Tuesday expressed “regret over the tragic incidents that occurred to Saudi citizens in Thailand between 1989 and 1990” and stressed “its keenness to resolve issues related to these events,” the joint statement said.

Thailand, deprived by the dispute of billions of dollars in badly needed tourism revenues and workers’ remittances, long has wanted to patch up relations with Saudi Arabia.

Prince Mohammed has increasingly focused on winning allies abroad and mending rifts with regional rivals, including Iran, Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia, in a push to modernise and diversify its oil-dependent economy, is trying to draw foreign tourists and investors and overhaul its reputation as one of the world’s most closed countries with a bleak human rights record.


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