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PM foresees great benefits from Saudi Arabia ties

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) meets with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in Diriyah on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday. (Saudi Press Agency / HO / AFP photo)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) meets with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in Diriyah on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday. (Saudi Press Agency / HO / AFP photo)

The country is likely to benefit greatly from the restoration of normal relations with Saudi Arabia, including the possibility of progress towards peace in the far South, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Gen Prayut wrote that Thailand and Saudi Arabia have ended three decades of estrangement and will form a comprehensive strategic partnership.

“I am very pleased with the considerable opportunities both countries will get from the restored relationship,” he wrote.

Initially, both sides have agreed to accept ambassadors on each other’s soil — instead of relying on charges d’affaires — and to establish mechanisms for bilateral cooperation.

Gen Prayut said people of both countries will be able to visit the other, and Thailand should generate at least 5 billion baht a year from the exchanges.

There will also be cooperation and investment in research on conventional, clean and renewable energy.

Thailand will once again be able to send its citizens to work in Saudi Arabia. In 1987, Thailand sent as many as 300,000 workers to the Arab kingdom, and they sent over 9 billion baht per year back to their homeland.

The prime minister also expected Thai food suppliers to export halal food to Saudi Arabia, and from there to other countries in the region.

Regarding security, Gen Prayut wrote, Saudi Arabia is a neutral Islamic country, has great influence at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and could help solve the unrest in three southern border provinces. Both countries could cooperate on security information and anti-terrorism operations, he said.

The prime minister also wrote that restored bilateral trade and investment relations would create opportunities for Thai investors and small and medium enterprises to do business in Saudi Arabia and other Mideast countries. He saw opportunities for consumer products, interior decorations and furniture.

Gen Prayut said was invited to Saudi Arabia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and had invited the Crown Prince to pay a visit to Thailand to foster bilateral relations.

Reference