Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms

Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading delegates from the Kingdom to attend the annual gathering of the 21-member APEC. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading delegates from the Kingdom to attend the annual gathering of the 21-member APEC. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading delegates from the Kingdom to attend the annual gathering of the 21-member APEC. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading delegates from the Kingdom to attend the annual gathering of the 21-member APEC. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading delegates from the Kingdom to attend the annual gathering of the 21-member APEC. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on the sidelines of APEC summit in Bangkok. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on the sidelines of APEC summit in Bangkok. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on the sidelines of APEC summit in Bangkok. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with French president Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Thailand. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with French president Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Thailand. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with French president Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Thailand. (Twitter: @spagov)
Special Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Indonesian president Joko Widodo on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Thailand. (Twitter: @spagov)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Thailand. (Twitter: @spagov)
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Updated 19 November 2022

Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms

Saudi Arabia and Thailand: Burgeoning ties bind two friendly kingdoms
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit expected to give a boost to trade, investment and economic cooperation
  • Bilateral ties improving by leaps and bounds since resumption of Saudi-Thai diplomatic relations earlier this year

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official visit to Thailand, participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and meetings with several Asian heads of government are the latest highlights of a successful tour of Asia.

Friday’s engagements in Bangkok came after an official visit by the crown prince to Seoul for meetings with the South Korean leadership and signing of economic deals. He also attended the two-day G20 leaders’ summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The crown prince’s arrival in the Thai capital on Thursday represented a symbolic turning of the page in Saudi-Thai relations and followed the resumption of diplomatic ties in January.

He was invited by Thailand to join the APEC forum as a guest of honor despite Saudi Arabia not being a member of the group, an indication of Thailand’s desire to enhance cooperation, trade and investment to serve both kingdoms.

Leaders and representatives from 21 economies on both sides of the Pacific Ocean were expected to discuss how to maintain stability during the challenges of climate change and the growing political and economic fallout of the war in Ukraine.




Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Thailand on an official visit, where he was received by the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Thailand. (SPA)

The summit began with an appeal by the host Thailand for member states to work together to attain sustainable growth and development.

The crown prince and APEC leaders discussed sustainable trade and investment in an informal dialogue session. He also held talks with national leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.

Abdurrahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Suhaibani, the Saudi ambassador to Thailand, told the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that the crown prince’s visit came after an invitation from Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and followed a landmark visit he made to Saudi Arabia in January.

Al-Suhaibani said the significance of the visit was evident given it coincided with the APEC forum, involving the participation of 23 countries. He said it was aimed at strengthening cooperation and partnership between the two countries and would help boost relations and trade.

He added that the exploration of areas of investment opportunities was necessary in light of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform plan and the development priorities of Thailand, which include the policy of a circular, green economy.

The two countries were also looking for cooperation in renewable energy, the environment, digital transformation and cybersecurity, Al-Suhaibani said.




Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as he arrives in Riyadh on an official visit in January 2022. (SPA)

The ambassador said that the visit was “an extension of the Kingdom’s efforts in serving Islam and Muslims all over the world. The Kingdom’s government has paid attention to the Muslims of Thailand and takes care of them in cooperation and coordination with the Thai government.”

After Prayuth’s visit to the Kingdom, ambassadors were appointed to their respective capitals and agreements on tourism, labor, energy and food security were signed. The first commercial flight from Riyadh to Bangkok arrived on Feb. 28.

A memorandum of understanding on Thai workers taking jobs in Saudi Arabia was signed in March. In May, Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi minister of investment, and Don Pramudwinai, Thailand’s foreign minister, jointly hosted the Saudi-Thai Investment Forum.

By August, Saudi arrivals in the Southeast Asian country had risen to 35,000. Thailand hopes to attract up to 300,000 Saudi visitors by the end of the year.

In September, a memorandum of understanding was signed to create the Thai-Saudi Business Council, marking a significant step toward cementing trade ties and potentially giving Thailand access to the wider Gulf Cooperation Council market.

Trade relations have been steadily developing. Saudi Aramco has an agreement to sell 166,000 barrels per day of crude oil to the Thai company PTT Public. The firm has now proposed to increase the quantities and duration of the deliveries.

The Saudi firm SABIC has a factory in Thailand that produces specialized materials such as NORYL plastics. The company sells around 1.3 million tons of petrochemical products and fertilizers in Thailand a year and employs 83 people in its regional office in Bangkok.

The volume of the Kingdom's exports to Thailand amounted to $4 billion during 2020, while the volume of Thailand's exports to the Kingdom amounted to $1.65 billion in the same year, according to Saudi government sources.

The volume of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Thailand in the past five years amounted to $34.65 billion, according to SPA.

The Kingdom's non-oil exports to Thailand exceeded SR2 billion during the year 2020, with mineral, chemical and aluminum products topping the list of the most important exported commodities. Cars and their parts, machinery, wood and its products were among most prominent imported commodities.

The two countries are seeking cooperation in agriculture through and trade in basic crops such as rice and halal items.

Saudi Arabia is eager to export dates to Thailand and to enhance cooperation in Thai fish and poultry farming.

THENUMBER

*$34.65bn - Volume of KSA-Thailand trade in the past 5 years.

The Kingdom maintained its support for Thailand’s Muslims even before the resumption of diplomatic relations this year. 

Saudi Arabia provided humanitarian assistance after the 2004 tsunami, including $30 million in donations and 75 tons of relief.

In May 2019, Saudi Arabia extended support to Thai Muslims through scholarships and financial support, and, in April of last year distributed food to around 35,000 people during Ramadan.




Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading delegates from the Kingdom to attend the annual gathering of the 21-member APEC. (Twitter: @spagov)

In August, the Islamic Center in Bangkok opened an exhibition of Saudi culture and heritage, which was organized by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Saudi Arabia first established diplomatic relations with Thailand in 1957. The two kingdoms enjoyed good relations that were strengthened with official visits.

In March 1966, the Kingdom raised the level of diplomatic representation in Thailand from a consulate to an embassy. Thailand opened its embassy in Riyadh in 1984 while keeping its consulate in Jeddah.

Relations between the two countries developed and continued in all political, economic, trade and tourism fields until 1990.

During his visit to Riyadh in January, Prayuth said Thailand attached utmost importance to friendship with Saudi Arabia, and was keen to end all outstanding issues.

He expressed his sincere regret over the tragic events that occurred in Thailand in 1989 and 1990, and said that 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.


Misk Tour discusses youth empowerment in Madinah

Misk Tour discusses youth empowerment in Madinah
Updated 15 sec ago

Misk Tour discusses youth empowerment in Madinah

Misk Tour discusses youth empowerment in Madinah
  • Chief of Programs at Misk Foundation Omar Al-Najjar said that Misk had played its part in the past decade in creating exceptional people qualified to help in the transformation of the Kingdom
  • Omar Al-Najjar added that Misk created opportunities for young people, invested in their latent energies, and supported young entrepreneurs and their startups

RIYADH: The Prince Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, which is also known as the Misk Foundation, held an activities event on Wednesday at the King Salman International Convention Center in Madinah.

The Misk Tour takes place over two days under the patronage of Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman, and his deputy Prince Saud bin Khaled Al-Faisal.

Omar Al-Najjar, chief of programs at the foundation, said that Misk had played its part in the past decade in creating exceptional people qualified to help in the transformation of the Kingdom.

He added that 180 leaders out of more than 20,000 applicants had graduated from the foundation.

He added that Misk created opportunities for young people, invested in their latent energies, and supported young entrepreneurs and their startups.

The Misk Tour saw the registration of more than 2,000 participants. It includes five dialogue sessions covering a number of topics, most notably the impact of empowering youth, and the concept of identity between individuals and institutions. 

The event also offers workshops in a number of diverse fields, including the art of smartphone photography and personal branding, an introduction to the art of decoupage, and professional work in the non-profit sector.

Prince Saud was present at the closing debate of the Youth Voice Program, which discussed motivating and developing young people to become proficient in the skills of speaking, debating and critical thinking.

The deputy governor also honored members of the winning team in the debate.


Saudi foreign ministry announces new link to obtain personal visit visa

Saudi foreign ministry announces new link to obtain personal visit visa
Updated 4 min 8 sec ago

Saudi foreign ministry announces new link to obtain personal visit visa

Saudi foreign ministry announces new link to obtain personal visit visa

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry announced on Wednesday a new link through which people wishing to enter the Kingdom to visit their friends or acquaintances who are Saudi citizens can obtain a personal visit visa.

Developing 


Riyadh’s Arabian Horse Festival kicks off with top breeders

Riyadh’s Arabian Horse Festival kicks off with top breeders
Updated 30 November 2022

Riyadh’s Arabian Horse Festival kicks off with top breeders

Riyadh’s Arabian Horse Festival kicks off with top breeders
  • Hundreds of purebreds to be showcased
  • Leading equestrians competitors and animals participating

RIYADH: The Riyadh Purebred Arabian Horse Festival, Jawadi, kicked off Tuesday at the Al-Duhami Equestrian Center in Diriyah governorate, showcasing 347 breeds of the animals.

The five-day festival has SR1 million ($266,000) in prizes on offer. The competitions over the course of the event include the first Saudi Breeders Cup and the Saudi Production Champions Cup. They have both been organized by the Arabian Horse Organization and supervised by the King Abdulaziz Center for Purebred Arabian Horses.

The festival area reflects traditional Najdi architecture and brings together riders, artists and enthusiasts for competitions, folk dances, workshops, lectures, arts and crafts, local and international food, perfumes and sandals.

Azaam Al-Qasim, an equestrian and horse trainer taking part in the festival, told Arab News that the beauty competition would showcase the pedigree of the animals brought by local and international participants.

He said Arabian equestrians, and their horses, are differentiated by their capability and determination, which has served to attract many to the sport in the Kingdom.

Rana Mohammed, an artist who has her paintings of horses on display at the festival, told Arab News: “Horses are my passion, and the more I paint artwork of horses the more I discover more details about them, and I spend more time mastering these details.”

Faisal Al-Shamsan, a visitor, said the horse competitions in a traditional village setting with food and music was “all great.” He also enjoyed watching traditional dancing with his family.

The festival is part of the offerings of Riyadh Season, organized by the General Entertainment Authority. It is open from 3 p.m. until 12 midnight and runs until Dec. 3.


KSRelief delivers relief aid to flood-hit Pakistan 

KSRelief delivers relief aid to flood-hit Pakistan 
Updated 30 November 2022

KSRelief delivers relief aid to flood-hit Pakistan 

KSRelief delivers relief aid to flood-hit Pakistan 

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) team continued to deliver relief aid to those affected by the floods in Pakistan, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

As many as 1,426 winter bags were delivered to those affected, benefiting 9,982 people in the districts of Shahdadkot, Badin and Dadu in Sindh province.

Meanwhile, KSRelief also distributed food aid in Sudan’s Sinkat, benefiting 344 families. 

344 food packages were handed out in the districts of Al-Salam, Al-Janayin, Al-Inqad, Bir Nksoub, Al-Rakham and Sayyit in the locality of Sinkat. 

In Liberia, KSRelief has also delivered 50 tons of dates as a gift from the Saudi Arabia to the nation. 

Also this week, KSRelief signed three joint agreements together with a civil society organization to carry out a series of health and environmental projects for Yemen.


New joint venture Tahaluf to support Saudi events sector

New joint venture Tahaluf to support Saudi events sector
Updated 29 November 2022

New joint venture Tahaluf to support Saudi events sector

New joint venture Tahaluf to support Saudi events sector
  • The venture is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals to achieve economic diversification and create employment opportunities for Saudi citizens

RIYADH: The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones and Informa PLC recently launched the joint venture Tahaluf, which aims to train young Saudi women and men in events administration and attract international events into Saudi Arabia.

The venture is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals to achieve economic diversification and create employment opportunities for Saudi citizens.

Faisal Al-Khamisi, chairman of the board of directors of the federation, said: “The Kingdom has hosted a wide range of global events in recent years, and now the federation is investing in increasing Saudi events and activities and the related creative and digital sectors though Tahaluf.”

Faisal Al-Kahmisi said SAFCSP is investing in increasing Saudi events and activities and the related creative and digital sectors through Tahaluf. (SPA)

He explained that the name Tahaluf (Arabic for “alliance”) reflects the strength of the partnership between the federation and Informa PLC.

“We plan to work closely together on this next phase of developing world-class events for Saudi Arabia,” Al-Khamisi said.

HIGHLIGHT

Tahaluf Academy will also be established, which will annually provide a group of young Saudi professionals with professional accreditation, practical training and experience in international events through a series of opportunities across Informa’s global business.

Tahaluf will benefit from the expertise of Informa PLC to create a world-class events sector in the Kingdom, which will diversify the Saudi economy, provide access to new opportunities for international companies, attract foreign investment and support commercial activity.

Michael Champion, regional executive vice president of Informa PLC, said: “We are honored to expand our partnership with SAFCSP to create Tahaluf, and together we aim to create sustainable events on a global level in Saudi Arabia that will be an international exhibition for the main sectors of the Saudi economy.”

Tahaluf Academy will also be established, which will annually provide a group of young Saudi professionals with professional accreditation, practical training and experience in international events through a series of opportunities across Informa’s global business.

Tahaluf will also bring to Saudi Arabia global events next year, including the DeepFest artificial intelligence conference, the food and hospitality festival Feast, the Middle East beauty festival Cosmoprof, the international real estate exhibition Cityscape, and an exhibition for the leading pharmaceutical brand CPHI in the Middle East.

“SAFCSP is a great leader in the mission of supporting skills development and job creation for Saudi youth in dynamic and professional sectors and will also contribute to the diversification and growth of key sectors in Saudi Arabia,” said Al-Khamisi.

“Informa has played a leading role in the events industry on an international level, including pioneering on-demand and data-driven digital experiences and driving sustainability initiatives across the sector. This expertise has helped launch successful events together in the past and will be invaluable...in delivering on the ambitious plans announced today,” he added.