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Thailand, Bahrain sign MoUs to boost ties, trade

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BAHRAIN, May 14 - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday held bilateral talks with her Bahraini counterpart and witnessed the signing of three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to boost trade and investment between the two countries.
The Thai premier is now on a three-day official visit to the Gulf country (May 13-15) and was accompanied by Cabinet members including Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Minister of Industry Pongsvas Svasti, Minister of Commerce Boonsong Teriyapirom, and Minister of Public Health Wittaya Buranasiri, as well as some private sector representatives.
On the second day of the trip, Ms Yingluck attended an official welcoming ceremony hosted by the Bahraini government and held talks with Prince Kalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain.
In this occasion, the Thai premier thanked the Bahraini government, which as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has supported Thailand's approach in resolving the violence in the Deep South.
A high level representative delegation of the OIC led by Ambassador Sayed Kassem El-Masry, a top advisor to the OIC chief, last week visited Thailand’s southernmost province of Yala and was briefed by the Thai authorities on Thailand’s responses to the violence in the region.
He said he will report on the situation to OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu as he believes violence in the southernmost provinces was not related to religious differences but a normal problem for a country with minority population.
Both leaders also discussed over the construction projects, particularly the expansion of Bahrain's international airport, as Thai private sectors would like to play a role in the Gulf state's property industry development.
The food security has also been raised during the talk as both countries agreed to accelerate the agreement and framework on trade, investment, as well as research and development on agriculture and halal food.
Regarding the cooperation on medical tourism, Thailand has approved the extension of stay in the kingdom for Bahraini to the maximum 30 days without a previously issued visa.
After the discussion, the visiting Thai prime minister and Prince Kalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa witnessed the signing of three MoUs on cooperation on tourism, culture and food security, trade and investment on agricultural products.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Surapong said that the prime minister of Bahrain has reaffirmed to Ms Yingluck that Bahrain considered Thailand as the first choice of trade and investment partner and that his government is confident on the Thai government.
Ms Yingluck arrived in Bahrain on Sunday and was granted an audience with HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain at the Al Rowdah Palace.

Bahrain is considered the closest friend of Thailand in the Middle East and it has played the role of bridge builder, connecting Thailand to the Middle East. (MCOT online news)


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