RIYADH: Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will arrive in Riyadh on Tuesday to begin an official visit to Saudi Arabia.
The two-day visit follows “consultations that resulted in convergence of views on various issues of common concern, and to ensure the containing consultation, coordination and exchanging of views on these issues,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, the cooperative framework for countries in the Asian region, which was set up by Thailand in 2005 to promote closer economic cooperation among Asian economies. It includes the major economies in the Middle East, and has its headquarters is in Kuwait City.
The two countries are also linked by the 7.7 million Thais who are Muslim, of whom about 10,000 a year take part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Kingdom. “Thailand and Saudi Arabia’s historic links can be traced back to the early days of the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Thai Embassy’s website says.
Saudi-Thai relations were formally established in 1957 with resident representatives, and upgraded to ambassador level in 1966.
Prayut, 67, was chief of the Royal Thai Army from 2010 to 2014, when he became prime minister. He is expected to hold talks during his visit with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“This visit is very important to both sides,” Sathana Kashemsanta Na Ayudhya, charge d’affaires at the Thai Embassy in Riyadh, told Arab News. “The two leaders will have a fruitful discussion.”