Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Thailand for official visit

Crown Prince is accompanied by his energy, investment and foreign ministers

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Thailand on Thursday to attend the the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit.

He was met at Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok by Thai Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. The pair and other officials then attended a reception ceremony with a guard of honour and national anthems played.

Prince Mohammed was accompanied by his energy, investment and foreign ministers, among others. He later attended the annual meeting of the 21-member bloc.

Gen Chan-ocha visited Riyadh in January, resuming relations after more than 30 years after the "blue diamond affair" soured relations.

A Thai cleaner working for King Fahd's eldest son, Prince Faisal, stole jewels from the royal in 1989, including a 50-carat blue diamond, which was never returned. The incident escalated when three Saudi diplomats were shot dead in Bangkok and the Saudis accused Thai authorities of returning fake gems.

But in January, the two countries upgraded their levels of diplomatic representation from charge d’affairs to the level of ambassador. Both embassies will be opened on Friday and the new ambassadors announced.

A statement released by the Saudi Press Agency said Thailand has "expressed its regret over the tragic incidents that occurred to Saudi citizens in Thailand between 1989 and 1990 and has also affirmed its keenness to make efforts to resolve issues related to those incidents and to refer them to the competent authorities in the event that they arise".

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Thailand, Abdurrahman bin Abdulaziz Al Suhaibani, said the visit will enhance relations between the two nations. He said Prince Mohammed and Gen Chan-ocha would discuss economic and trade relations and co-operation in areas such as renewable energy, digital transformation and cybersecurity.

Updated: November 18, 2022, 11:47 AM