ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Agriculture, energy top agenda of talks with Thailand
ENERGY and agricultural cooperation topped talks between Brunei and Thailand yesterday as Thai Prime Minister General (Rtd) Prayut Chan-o-cha touched down in the Sultanate for a two-day visit.
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, welcomed the prime minister to Istana Nurul Iman where they held a bilateral meeting and witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on agricultural cooperation.
After the meeting, the prime minister told The Brunei Times that his visit had been “very successful”, saying the two countries remained close partners, with agriculture representing the cornerstone of bilateral engagement.
“We are still working to strengthen the relationship and have more cooperation in all aspects… There are many areas to move forward, such as energy, fisheries, defence and tourism,” he said.
The MoU covers a wide range of areas including halal food production, rice production, fisheries, livestock, land development and water management.
Thai government spokesperson Captain (Rtd) Yongyuth Mayalarp elaborated on the talks, saying the two countries planned to put together a team to explore possible energy cooperation.
“The prime minister had the opportunity to meet with the (Brunei) energy minister this afternoon,” Captain Yongyuth said, adding that clean energy and the construction of gas-powered power plants were two issues that were discussed.
Yongyuth said the leaders had also discussed creating “tourism cluster packages” to enhance people-to-people relations, as well as the joint defence training and exchanges.
Thai media also reported that the two countries proposed a joint venture where Brunei would grant foreign trawlers permission to fish within 200 to 45 nautical miles of the Sultanate’s coastline.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs General (Rtd) Tanasak Patimapragorn added that the prime minister had extended an invitation to the Sultan to visit Thailand this year.
“We have had very good relations between Brunei and Thailand for a very long time, at every level – the royal family, government-to-government, as well as people-to-people.”’
Present at the airport to greet Prime Minister Prayut upon his arrival was His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah.
Also present during the royal audience at Istana Nurul Iman was HRH the Crown Prince; HRH Princess Sarah; HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah;
HRH Prince Jefri Bolkiah; HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik; HRH Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah; HRH Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; YAM Pengiran Bini Hajah Faizah; and HRH Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam, as well as other members of the royal family and cabinet ministers.
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