Saudi Arabia, Thailand ‘turn new page in relations’ as prime minister visits

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives the prime minister of Thailand. (SPA)
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  • Agreed to fully restore diplomatic ties and to exchange ambassadors in the near future, joint statement said
  • Saudia to resume direct flights to Thailand

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Thailand turned a new page in their relations on Tuesday, with a restoration of full diplomatic ties and a planned exchange of ambassadors.

The moves came as Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha arrived in Riyadh for a two-day official visit.

Prayut held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other government ministers, discussed investment opportunities with ACWA power company chairman Mohammad bin Abdullah Abunayyan, and visited the Saudi capital’s Al-Turaif historical district.

In their talks, the crown prince and the prime minister stressed the keenness of the two countries on strengthening the ties of friendship between them and opening a new page in relations.

In a joint statement, the two countries affirmed the spirit of cooperation and shared decisions in order to revive the friendship and good relationship between them and their peoples, and agreed to fully restore diplomatic relations.

Prayut said his country attached the utmost importance to the ties of friendship with Saudi Arabia, and was keen to end all outstanding issues between the two countries. He expressed his sincere regret over the tragic events that occurred in Thailand in 1989 and 1990, and said the Thai government had made great efforts to resolve previous issues.

Thailand also stressed its commitment to the protection of Saudi diplomats in Thailand, in accordance with the Vienna Convention, and said it would raise previous issues with the competent authorities if new evidence surfaced.

The prime minister congratulated Saudi Arabia on its success in organizing and holding G20 summit meetings, and the positive decisions that resulted from them. The crown prince said he was confident that Thailand’s hosting of several economic forums this year would help achieve sustainable and balanced growth.

Later, Saudia airline, the Kingdom’s national carrier, said it would resume direct flights to Thailand in May.