Govt agrees plan for Saudi Arabia labour deployment as ties normalise
published : 1 Mar 2022 at 17:42
The government plans to facilitate the deployment of labour to Saudi Arabia for the first time in decades, a spokesman said on Tuesday, part of the restoration of ties that were severed by the Gulf State over a multi-million dollar jewellery theft.
Thailand has been eager to normalise relations with the oil-rich Kingdom after a spat that has cost billions of dollars in two-way trade and tourism revenues and the loss of tens of thousands of overseas jobs.
The two countries agreed to re-establish full diplomatic ties following the January visit by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to Saudi Arabia on Jan 25 as a guest of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, restoring diplomatic ties after a 30-year freeze.
The cabinet on Tuesday approved two draft agreements on legal labour recruitment for Saudi Arabia which will protect the rights of workers and employers, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
"This will mark a new era of strengthening Thailand-Saudi Arabia economic ties and expanding the Thai labour market into the Middle East," Mr Thanakorn said.
Saudi Arabia downgraded relations over the theft in 1989 of about $20 million of jewels by a Thai janitor in the palace of a Saudi prince.
The spat became known as the "Blue Diamond Affair" and a year after the theft, three Saudi diplomats were separately assassinated in a single night. Many of the gems, including a rare blue diamond, are yet to be recovered.
The theft remains one of Thailand's biggest unsolved mysteries and the bloody trail of destruction that followed saw several high-ranking police generals implicated.
Flight SV846 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, made history when it touched down at Suvarnabhumi international airport at 6pm on Monday.
It was the first flight from the Middle East kingdom in 32 years.