JAKARTADAILY.ID - Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday at the request of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a statement released by the Saudi ministry on Sunday, Reuters reported Sunday (January 23, 2022).
"The visit comes amid consultations that led to bringing views closer on issues of common interest," the ministry revealed. The purpose of the visit, according to the statement, is to coordinate on those matters.
The high-level meeting will mark the first talks between the two nations in nearly three decades, following a diplomatic spat over a jewelry theft.
The theft of about $20 million in jewels by a Thai cleaner working in the residence of a Saudi royal in 1989 became known as the "Blue Diamond Affair” which resulted in Saudi Arabia dropping its diplomatic ties with Bangkok.
A considerable number of the jewels have yet to be retrieved, including the rare blue diamond.
The jewel heist is still one of Thailand's major unsolved mysteries, and it was followed by a murderous trail of destruction that included some of Thailand's top police generals.
Three Saudi diplomats in Thailand were assassinated in three different homicides on the same night a year after they were stolen.
A month later, a Saudi businessman named Mohammad al-Ruwaili went missing after witnessing one of the shootings. Later that year, a Thai criminal court dismissed a case against five men, which included a senior police officer, who was accused of murdering Ruwaili for the gemstones.
Thailand has been eager to normalize relations with the Saudi government following a conflict that has cost a lot of money in two-way economic and tourism revenue and resulted in the layoff of tens of thousands of Thai migrant workers.
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