December 6, 2023
BANGKOK – Srettha said he would discuss plans to negotiate the release of the Thais with General Songwit Noonpackdee, chief of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, at their meeting this week.
Twenty-three Thais were released by Hamas during a ceasefire deal with Israel that began on November 24. However, the ceasefire broke down on Friday as Israel relaunched its attack on Gaza, renewing fears for the safety of hostages still being held in the strip.
Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said last week that efforts were ongoing to free the remaining eight or nine Thai hostages. Hamas officials have given conflicting accounts of exactly how many Thais are being held captive.
The first batch of seventeen Thai workers released by the militant group arrived safely back at Suvarnabhumi Airport last Thursday.
Meanwhile, other topics on the agenda at this week’s meeting between Srettha and the armed services chief include PM2.5 air pollution and international pork smuggling.
The PM has vowed to track down the “big fish” behind a multibillion-baht pork-smuggling trade that has damaged prices, trade and farmers in Thailand.