Thailand, Saudi Arabia Agree to Restore Full Ties After Blue Diamond Row

Thailand and Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume full diplomatic ties after 30 years of frozen relations that stemmed from a jewelry heist on a Saudi palace.

A visiting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman agreed to exchange ambassadors and set up “consultative mechanisms for consolidating their bilateral cooperation”, said a joint statement published by the Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia downgraded its relations with Thailand over a diplomatic row in 1989, when Thai janitor Kriangkrai Techamong stole $20 million worth of jewelry in the palace of a Saudi prince which he worked for.

The stolen gems included a 50-carat blue diamond that was believed to be one of the biggest in the world.

After his arrest, Kriangkrai returned fake jewelry, and without the blue diamond, triggering a hostile diplomatic row and a series of murders in Bangkok. The incident, which remains unresolved, was dubbed the “Blue Diamond Affair”.

The statement said that Prayuth expressed “sincere regrets for the tragic cases that took place in Thailand between 1989 and 1990” and reaffirmed that they “exerted utmost efforts to resolve the cases”.

“This historic step is the result of long-standing efforts at different levels to re-establish mutual confidence and friendly relations,” the joint statement added.

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