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Thai government doing all it can to negotiate release of Hamas hostages

PHOTO: Wikimedia

Thai PM Srettha Thavisin says his administration is doing “everything it can” to secure the release of Thai nationals being held hostage by Hamas, while also repatriating citizens who want to come home.

The PM has called a meeting with relevant agencies to discuss how Thai citizens taken hostage by Hamas can be freed. The PM says talks are already underway and the government is exploring all avenues to secure the release of the hostages.

“We will meet at the Foreign Affairs Ministry to discuss the matter. The ministry, the Thai ambassador to Israel, and security agencies have attached great importance to helping Thai hostages.”

He also met with the Saudi crown prince on Saturday morning during a visit to the ASEAN Gulf Cooperation Summit, where Crown Prince Mohamed promised he would do anything he can to help secure the release of any Thai hostages.

The PM added that, given the sensitivities surrounding the talks, he is unable to provide much more information at this time.

“Personal connections will also be used in negotiations. Progress is expected on Monday. However, some details of the negotiations cannot be disclosed. But I assure you that we will try to help (the hostages) to the best of our ability.”

Meanwhile, the Labour Ministry says around a third of the Thai nationals in Israel who expressed a desire to come home have now been repatriated. Permanent secretary Phairoj Chotikasatien says 2,823 Thai citizens have returned from the conflict zone, out of a total of 8,439 who have formally requested repatriation.

For those still waiting to come home, the government is using chartered flights from Tel Aviv to Dubai, where passengers then take a connecting flight to Thailand. He says officials are in the process of arranging additional flights, adding that anyone who makes their own travel arrangements can claim reimbursement on their return.

Phairoj adds that 118 Thai nationals have declared their intention to remain in Israel. Meanwhile, the number of Thais injured in the conflict has risen to 18. The number being held hostage is 19 and the number of Thai nationals killed remains at 30.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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