Thailand to seek security cooperation with Saudi Arabia

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minster Don Pramudwinai. (AFP)
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minster Don Pramudwinai. (AFP)
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Updated 14 May 2022

Thailand to seek security cooperation with Saudi Arabia

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minster Don Pramudwinai. (AFP)
  • Ties between the countries were renewed in late January, following Thai PM’s visit to Riyadh
  • Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on May 15-18

BANGKOK: Thailand will be seeking to revive security ties with Saudi Arabia, a top official said on Friday, as the Thai foreign minister is scheduled to visit Riyadh next week.

Bilateral ties stalled in the 1980s and were renewed in late January, following Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Riyadh, which was the first top leadership meeting between the two countries in over three decades.  

The two governments have since signed cooperation agreements to promote trade, investment, and labor recruitment, but defense ties have not been discussed yet.

Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, who is also Thailand’s deputy prime minister, is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on May 15-18. His delegation will include representatives from government agencies and the private sector.

BACKGROUND

The two governments have since signed cooperation agreements to promote trade, investment, and labor recruitment, but defense ties have not been discussed yet.

“There has been an ongoing attempt for a cooperation on security areas as organizations involving security matters of the two countries have not had a chance to meet in more than 30 years,” Darm Boontham, director-general of the Department of South Asia, Middle East, and African Affairs of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Arab News.

“We might be able to see the first step,” he added, referring to the foreign minister's visit. “There have been discussions and drafting on the framework on security cooperation, one important area is military cooperation and exchanging intelligence.”

In a press conference on Thursday evening, Boontham said Thai officials would discuss a planned visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Bangkok, which Thailand hopes will be in the coming months.

Pramudwinai is expected to meet his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan and the investment, tourism, and energy ministers.

Since the restoration of diplomatic ties, the two countries have already restarted people-to-people exchanges.

Saudia, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, resumed commercial flights between Riyadh and Bangkok in late February. Thai Airways has announced it will start flying from Bangkok to Jeddah in July.

 


At UN meeting on food security, Saudi Arabia stresses that global cooperation is vital

At UN meeting on food security, Saudi Arabia stresses that global cooperation is vital
Updated 16 sec ago

At UN meeting on food security, Saudi Arabia stresses that global cooperation is vital

At UN meeting on food security, Saudi Arabia stresses that global cooperation is vital
  • Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji said the KSA’s foreign policy attaches great importance to enhancing security and stability

RIYADH: A Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs official on Wednesday confirmed that the Kingdom has taken crucial steps to enhance food security, put forward strategies to promote food growth and face climate change and water scarcity. 

Waleed Al-Khuraiji, Saudi deputy minister of foreign affairs, said these efforts have contributed to improving food security indicators in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the Global Food Security Call to Action meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday, Al-Khuraiji said that the food security challenge proves that sustainable recovery depends on international cooperation.

He said that despite progress in the development process, achieving the 2030 SDG (social development goals) has become extremely difficult, as global expectations and indicators show a deviation in the path towards achieving the second goal of the program, which includes the eradication of hunger.

“Among the global health challenges are the spread of pandemics, as the spread of the COVID-19 revealed to us the fragility of the international system in combating a virus that is not visible to the naked eye, which led to severe consequences that affected societies and economies,” Al-Khuraiji said, adding  that this affected people’s lives, their livelihood and declining economic indicators.

He said that Saudi Arabia led a global response to that pandemic that accompanied the Kingdom’s G20 presidency, as it supported global efforts to confront this pandemic with $500 million, in addition to providing $300 million to help countries’ efforts to address the pandemic.

“The Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 focused within sustainable development efforts on building a sustainable agricultural sector, strengthening sectors that support food systems, developing systems and improving agricultural productivity, and worked to strengthen research and innovation capabilities to ensure sustainable progress in food security,” Al-Khuraiji said.

In this regard, he said that Saudi Arabia presented crucial initiatives to the region and the world, and has become a road map for facing environmental challenges. These intuitive include the Saudi Green Initiative the Middle East Green Initiative, and the circular carbon economy initiative.

Al-Khuraiji said the  Kingdom’s foreign policy attaches great importance to enhancing security and stability, supporting dialogue and peaceful solutions, and providing conditions that support development and achieve people’s aspirations for a better tomorrow, weather in the Middle East or the World.

He added that Saudi Arabia has always reiterated its commitment to helping needy and countries hit by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

“The Kingdom is the largest donor of humanitarian and development aid at the Arab and Islamic levels, and is one of the top three donors at the international level,” he said.


Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation
Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation

Saudi-US defense delegations review ties, discuss future cooperation
  • Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid says the meeting was organized upon Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives

RIYADH: Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of defense, on Wednesday met the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The pair reviewed the Saudi-US partnership, and ongoing and future strategic military and defense cooperation between the Kingdom and US.

Prince Khalid expressed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation for the close cooperation between the two countries' defense bodies to achieve the two sides’ common interests and enhance security and peace regionally and internationally.

 

 

He also said that the meeting was organized based on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives.

Prince Khalid and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, then, co-headed the Saudi-US joint strategic planning committee meeting.

The Saudi and US defense delegations join a photo session after their meeting in Washington on May 18, 2022. (SPA)

The meeting discussed regional and international developments, and a number of issues on defending common interests and global security and stability.

The meeting was attended by Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Saudi Chief of General Staff, and other Saudi and US senior officials.


Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 May 2022

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia

Kahila horse championship to kick off May 25 in Saudi Arabia
  • The event will highlight the significance of the ancient sport and the Kingdom’s efforts to advance it through local and international forums

RIYADH: An international event to celebrate the history of purebred Arabian horses is set to get underway in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the Horse Racing Club, will on May 25 patronize the launch of the second edition of the five day Kahila championship meeting.

Organized by the King Abdulaziz center for purebred Arabian horses, the event will be staged at the Riyadh Front Exhibition and Convention Center and will highlight the significance of the ancient sport and the Kingdom’s efforts to advance it through local and international forums.


73 held after Saudi patrols intercept illicit drug hauls

73 held after Saudi patrols intercept illicit drug hauls
Updated 18 May 2022

73 held after Saudi patrols intercept illicit drug hauls

73 held after Saudi patrols intercept illicit drug hauls
  • The authorities thwarted attempts to smuggle 682 kilograms of hashish, 62.3 tons of khat and 194,300 amphetamine tablets

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 73 people after border patrols foiled massive drug smuggling attempts in several regions of the Kingdom.

Col. Misfir Al-Qarini, spokesman for the General Directorate of Border Guard, said that land patrols in the Jazan, Najran, Asir and Tabuk regions thwarted attempts to smuggle 682 kilograms of hashish, 62.3 tons of khat and 194,300 amphetamine tablets.

The seized drugs were handed over to authorities and legal steps taken against those detained, he added.

Among the alleged violators were 20 Saudi citizens, 26 Ethiopians, 23 Yemenis, two Pakistanis, one Sudanese and one Eritrean. 


Taif Rose Festival is an intense visual and olfactory delight

Taif Rose Festival is an intense visual and olfactory delight
Updated 18 May 2022

Taif Rose Festival is an intense visual and olfactory delight

Taif Rose Festival is an intense visual and olfactory delight
  • The festival has 13 sections featuring 50 live performances and folkloric dances from across the Kingdom

 

JEDDAH: At this time every year the mountainous city of Taif is adorned with the hues of bright pink roses that produce some of the world’s most alluring perfumes and oils.

The Taif Rose Festival is the modern iteration of a tradition of cultivation and harvesting that has taken place in this region over the past nine centuries.

It was launched on May 6 at Al-Rudaf Park in the southern part of the city, and is open from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight.

The Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with Taif Municipality and under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, have organized the festival for two years in a row.

However, it has been running for the past 17 years, Arab News was told by Ahmad Al-Joaid, a tour guide from Taif who has been operating for 15 years in the field.

Al-Joaid said: “A number of new activities are added to the festival every year. Al-Rudaf Park is an area of over half-a-million square meters … a theater has also been created for the festival … Concerts (are) also a new addition.”

The ministry tweeted on its account @MoC_Engage: “Between the beauty of roses and the creativity of art, we welcome you to Taif roses festival.”

The festival has 13 sections featuring 50 live performances and folkloric dances from across the Kingdom in the park, and music shows by male and female artists.

The organizers have set up a workshop aimed at young people that provides information on how to become involved in the perfume-making industry.

There is also an exhibition titled “Claude Monet,” named after the French painter and founder of impressionism, who portrayed nature with such startling creativity. Several of Monet’s renditions are on display.

The festival also provides an opportunity for aspiring Saudi artists to display their paintings at “Cultural Street,” and drawings and other artwork at “Drawing Exhibit.” 

Many families have set up booths to sell byproducts of Taif’s produce such as rose water, perfumes, deodorants, soaps, body and skincare products, food and sweets.

The festival is also a great place for social media enthusiasts because it has several picturesque backdrops for photographs such as the Rose Dome, which contains a giant painting made of natural roses, the largest basket of the flowers in the city, and models and gates decorated with the produce.

Visitors can also view and listen to various rare birds.

Taif roses have historic, economic and religious importance. The oil is used to perfume the walls of the Kaaba, which is also washed twice annually with its scented water.

The region has more than 2,000 flower farms producing over 200 million roses every season.

Residents of Makkah and Jeddah visit Taif regularly in summer. “People can do plenty of things in Taif in addition to visiting the festival during their one-day visit …  (including) museums, local markets, rose factories in Al-Shafa and Al-Hada, the cable car, strawberry farm, zoo, and historical castles,” the tour guide said.