On Friday, however, Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nu-Kara played down the news saying the media report from London was not confirmed while a government spokesman said the Prime Minister was monitoring events just hours after Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister visited Bangkok.
Thailand is expecting to see the release of its hostages in the coming hours as the ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel took effect on Friday with unconfirmed reports suggesting that 23 hostages are due to be handed over to the Kingdom’s officials in a separate move by Hamas brokered by Iranian diplomatic channels with Bangkok.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mr Parnpree Bahiddha-Nu-Kara, on Friday, cautioned that a news report published in London on Thursday was not being confirmed or official.
The news report by a respected Arab media outlet suggested that 23 Thai nationals were due for release by the Hamas militant group at the same time as 13 hostages were to be released by the group in accordance with the ceasefire deal brokered with Israel in conjunction with Qatar.
Foreign Minister on Friday urged caution and described the media reports on Thursday as ‘unconfirmed’ as officials wait to see
In Bangkok, the Thai Foreign Minister told reporters that the report cannot yet be confirmed, but it is understood that Thai officials, including the Prime Minister, are awaiting positive news following intense diplomacy between Bangkok and Middle Eastern countries, particularly Iran, since the outbreak of hostilities on October 7th.
The war is reported to have seen 26 Thai workers in Israel abducted by Hamas and the death of 39 of the kingdom’s nationals in the bloody invasion launched by Hamas on October 7th in which 1,200 people were killed by its operatives.
In the meantime, on Thursday, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Ali Bagheri, held a press conference in Bangkok after touching down in the Thai capital. The Iranian top diplomat arrived from the Philippines as part of an Asian tour.
Iranian Foreign Minister in Bangkok offered a lusty defence of the Hamas slaughter on October 7th describing it as a reaction to 70 years of occupation
He briefed Thai reporters at a press conference held at the Iranian Embassy.
The Iranian deputy foreign minister underlined his country’s support for the Hamas militant group and appeared to defend what happened on October 7th when he said: ‘the conflict in Gaza did not start on October 7th but is rooted in seven decades of occupation for the past more than 70 years, the October 7th attack was a reaction to seven decades of Zionists’ occupation,’ he declared. ‘Zionists have left Palestinian people with no choice but to resist.’
Mr Ali Baghari also met the Thai Foreign Minister Mr Parnpree who had met his Iranian counterpart previously on a visit to Qatar.
It is understood the Iranians have been at the heart of Thailand’s efforts to secure the release of its hostages and consequently, for the repatriation of those released, either through Israel or Egypt.
On Friday, Mr Parnpree cautioned that some of the released hostages may be suffering injuries and would therefore be treated by Israeli authorities in hospital there.
Thailand at pains to emphasise its neutral stance despite the large number of Thai nationals working in Israel and growing links between the countries
Thailand has been at pains to stress its neutrality in the Hamas-Israeli war but has suffered some embarrassment as only 8,500 of the 30,000 or so Thais living in Israel agreed to be repatriated from the country despite the exhortations of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
Srettha and top officials become more critical of Israel as Hamas uses Thai hostages as leverage in the War
Significantly, there are reports that a handful of the 8,500 who were paid compensation on arrival in Thailand have since made their way back via third countries, to Israel, with the Israeli government and employers offering enticements to Thai workers to continue working there.
In the meantime, Israeli authorities have provided compensation packages in respect of the 39 Thai nationals killed in the October 7th attack including pensions for widows of workers until they remarry.
PM Srettha is waiting for good news
The Thai government was further embarrassed earlier this month when news emerged that Israeli nationals and those holding dual-Thai-Israeli citizenship had also travelled back to Israel to take part in the military call-up and subsequent offensive against Hamas in Gaza and the deployment of Israeli forces on the Israeli border near southern Lebanon.
There is also a growing number of Thai-Israeli marriages with the Thai Embassy in Israel recently confirming that 500 Thai nationals were living in the Middle Eastern state who were married to Israeli citizens, reflecting a growing trend in nearly all developed countries
A spokesman for Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Mr Chai Wacharonke, on Friday, would only say that the PM was in touch with developments in the Middle East and was monitoring all channels to be able to respond positively to the situation when the Thai hostages are eventually set free.