By Binsal Abdulkader
ABU DHABI, 24th May, 2022 (WAM) -- Thailand wants to enhance cooperation with the UAE in food security and many other areas that have "untapped potentials," a top official of the southeast Asian nation told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
"In the coming years, Thailand wishes to enhance cooperation in the field of food security and agriculture with the UAE, as our potential in such field can complement the UAE's National Food Security Strategy 2051," said Wissanu Kreu-Ngam, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, who was in Abu Dhabi last week.
Food security as key area of cooperation
"Thailand as one of the world's leading food producers and exporters stands ready to render our full support to the UAE to achieve its goals of ensuring sufficient food supplies and implementing resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production," he stressed.
The global pandemic and related disruption of supply chains have proved the high importance of food security and the long-term strategy to tackle the future pandemics, Kreu-Ngam pointed out.
During his visit to the UAE capital, the Thai Deputy Prime Minister met President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, congratulated him on being elected to the top post and offered condolences on the passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
"During the meeting, I humbly appreciated His Highness Sheikh Mohamed's commitment and assurance to continue to work closely with the Royal Thai Government to further enhance our bilateral relations and cooperation in the future."
New areas of untapped potentials
Kreu-Ngam went on to say that both nations can expand their cooperation into new areas that have "untapped potentials," such as technology and innovation, infrastructural and property development, and financial services.
Although the global pandemic restricted the official visits during the past two years, an expected enhanced interactions in the post-pandemic situation will give opportunities to discuss such expansion in the relations, he noted.
The deputy prime minister said he is impressed by the UAE leadership's vision to empower its people. "I personally believe in the power of leadership to empower the nation and its people. And the UAE is indeed the proof of it."
For Thailand, the UAE has been a like-minded friend with a similar approach towards several global issues such as international security and stability, sustainable development, climate change, human rights, and health, he noted.
"In addition, the prosperity, development, and the tolerant outlook of the UAE has made home, school, workplace and a pool of opportunities for thousands of Thais residing in the country safe and sound," Kreu-Ngam pointed out.
"I believe that people-to-people contact is one of the prime movers to state-to-state relations and creates a solid base for cordial bilateral cooperation. The Thai community in the UAE significantly contributed to the closer friendship between the two countries," he explained.
There has been a significant presence of Thai businesses in various sectors in the UAE, be they restaurants, hotels, energy, and construction companies, signifying the UAE's high importance and vast potential, the deputy prime minister said.
He appreciated the UAE's continuous humanitarian assistance to those in need, including Thailand, in their hard times, especially during the global pandemic.
On 23rd June 2020, the UAE Government provided 11 tonnes of medical supplies to Thailand, he pointed out. In addition, throughout the pandemic-hit situation since March 2020, the UAE Government provided kind assistance for the prompt repatriation of about 3,000 Thai nationals back home with complimentary PCR tests, and offered free flight tickets for 150 stranded Thai nationals in the UAE to return home on 2nd July 2020 by Fly Dubai, Kreu-Ngam explained.
"We highly and sincerely value the kind assistance from the UAE to our country and people during this difficult time."