Hamas Thai hostages: Negotiations in progress for immediate release

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Negotiations with Iran are in progress, with the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, indicating readiness to immediately release all Thai hostages. This crucial update was provided yesterday by Saiyid Sulaiman Husaini, a prominent figure amongst Shia Muslims in Thailand.

The negotiating team, assembled by House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, initiated discussions with Hamas at 10am local time yesterday in Tehran. The team comprises former Narathiwat MP Areepen Uttarasin and Lerpong Syed, Husaini’s sibling. Notably, Iran, with a predominantly Shia Muslim population, is suspected of providing financial and military support to Hamas in their ongoing conflict with Israel.

Husaini, who holds significant sway amongst Shia Muslims in Thailand and neighbouring countries, reported that negotiations went smoothly (on Friday) morning.

“Details cannot be disclosed until the negotiation is concluded.”

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He went on to say that Hamas has assured Thai representatives of releasing Thai hostages immediately, once safety conditions permit.

In the meantime, Khampee Disthakorn, a spokesman for the House speaker, revealed that Wan is negotiating with all parties involved in the Israel-Hamas conflict, regardless of their religious affiliations, to secure the release of Thai hostages. However, Wan’s proposed visit to Saudi Arabia next Friday has been delayed in light of the ongoing conflict.

Elsewhere, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin debunked a report that claimed that 54 Thai nationals were among the 220 hostages in the Gaza Strip.

“I have checked and verified the situation with our Thai ambassador in Israel, as well as with security agencies, and they confirm that 18 Thais are being held.”

Addressing the issue of unpaid wages of Thai workers wishing to return home, PM Srettha stated that he had spoken to Orna Sagiv, Israel’s ambassador to Thailand, and confirmed that the pending salaries will be settled as soon as they leave the country.

Sending Thais home

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanchana Patarachoke updated that the current Thai death toll from the conflict stands at 33, with 18 others injured and 18 held hostage. She also advised those who are staying in Israel to prioritize their safety and consider returning home first, reported Bangkok Post.

Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn announced that Thai workers will not be sent back to Israel until the war concludes.

“Israel has decided to extend for another year the work permits of those whose contracts have ended.”

The ministry is also exploring opportunities for Thai agricultural workers in South Korea, Europe, and Australia.

Finally, Phiphat confirmed that the Thai returnees from Israel will be compensated 15,000 baht each, and the ministry will seek a larger budget from the Cabinet next week, reported Bangkok Post.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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