Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

H.E. Mr. Parnpree Bhahiddha-Nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Qatar and Egypt, between 31 October – 1 November 2023, to coordinate and advance efforts for the immediate release of Thai nationals taken hostage in the conflict in Israel-Gaza.

In Doha, the Deputy Prime Minister met with the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, the Minister of State of the State of Qatar, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, who was also visiting Qatar at the same time. In Cairo, the Deputy Prime Minister met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt. All sides expressed concern regarding the unfolding situation in Israel and Gaza, extended condolences for the loss of lives and damages suffered, especially by innocent civilians, including Thai workers, and supported the international community’s call for a cease-fire and negotiations that would lead to a sustainable solution between Israel and Palestine.

During the discussion with the three friendly countries, the Deputy Prime Minister sought support in advancing the immediate release of all foreign hostages, including Thai nationals. All three countries acknowledged the fact that the Thais are innocent and have no stake in the conflict. They commited their full support to the Thai side in assisting with the negotiation for the release of the Thai hostages to the best of their abilities, as well as their readiness to fully assist and care for the hostages. They expressed their view that the earlier the cease-fire, the sooner the hostages can be released.

Qatar plays an important mediating role in the region as a country with access to both Israel and Hamas and is of the view that in the next release of hostages, Thai nationals would be among the first group released. Meanwhile, Iran has already conveyed the release of Thai hostages since Thailand’s initial request, and agreed to raise the issue with Hamas on behalf of Thailand once again. Egypt agreed to convey any additional information to the Thai side at the earliest possible opportunity, and would consider facilitating access to the Rafah border crossing once the Thai hostages are released.

In this regard, all three friendly countries (Qatar, Iran and Egypt) agreed to convey Thailand’s request to Hamas immediately. However, it is not yet confirmed whether the Thai hostages are being held captive in a safe area or not. If they are being held in a safe area, the information conveyed to the Thai side is that the Thai hostages would be among the first group to be released.

Additionally, Thailand also discussed ways and means to promote bilateral relations in all dimensions with the three countries, and exchanged further views on the situation and developments in the region.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand.

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