Thailand, Saudi Arabia restore diplomatic ties

Wednesday, 2022-01-26 17:05:36
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Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha meets with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Al Yamamah Palace on January 25. (Photo: Government House)
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NDO/VNA – Thailand and Saudi Arabia have agreed to fully normalise their diplomatic relations, the two countries announced in a joint statement on a visit by Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to Saudi Arabia on January 25, noting that the historic breakthrough is a result of long-term efforts on many levels from both sides to restore mutual trust and friendly relations.

The two sides agreed on important steps to be taken to reinvigorate their bilateral relations, including the appointment of ambassadors to their respective capitals in the near future and the setting up of consultative mechanisms for consolidating their bilateral cooperation. Intensive coordination will commence in the coming months to discuss bilateral cooperation in key strategic areas.

During their meeting, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the Thai Prime Minister reaffirmed their mutual determination to resolve all pending issues between Thailand and Saudi Arabia and normalise relations between the two Kingdoms.

Saudi Airlines meanwhile announced that flights to Thailand would resume in May.

Relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia have become strained after a Thai man stole 90kg of precious gems worth 20 million USD, including a rare 50-carat blue diamond while working at the home of a Saudi prince in 1989.

The Thai police conducted an investigation and arrested the thief named Kriangkrai Techamong. He was sentenced to five years in jail. However, Kriangkrai sold most of the gems before his arrest. Thai police later returned some of the jewels, but Saudi officials claimed most were fake, while the whereabouts of the most precious gem has yet to be found.

Tensions continued to rise between Thailand and Saudi Arabia when Riyadh sent a businessman to investigate the case in 1990, but he disappeared in Bangkok days after three Saudi diplomats were murdered in the city.