November 2, 2023
BANGKOK – Areepen Uttarasin and Muk Sulaiman, advisor and secretary to Wan Noor, held a press conference on Wednesday to announce their success in negotiating with Hamas representatives in Iran on October 26.
Areepen said Hamas representatives also invited his team to visit the hostages in the Gaza Strip, but the invitation had to be turned down due to safety reasons.
He said his delegation met leading members and representatives of the Iranian government on the following day and the meeting lasted for about two hours.
Areepen said Hamas leaders understood that the talks were being held on behalf of Thailand’s Parliament president and they understood that all Thai Muslims wanted to see the Thai hostages freed. They also recognised the fact that Thailand was not a party to the conflict.
He quoted Hamas representatives as saying that all hostages were being taken good care of, but the group could not set a release date for fear of Israeli attacks.
Areepen said Hamas wanted the hostages to convey to the world that its militants were not cruel. He added that he had handed a list of the 22 Thai hostages to both Iranian and Hamas representatives and that the names were being verified by Iran.
All of them have promised to help talk to Hamas to secure the release of Thai hostages, Areepen added.
They said they realised that Thailand was a good friend to Muslim nations.
Areepen said he has learned that the Iranian president has tasked four important figures of his government to talk to Hamas leaders as well.
He also clarified that his delegation was not going above the Thai government but was just lending a hand in the name of the Parliament president.
He said his team chose to discuss the issue with Iran because it has influence over Hamas as a key supporter of the group.
“I believe what was said by Hamas representatives was true. We’re the first group to hold formal talks with Hamas,” Areepen said.
Muk added that his group had to lend weight to the promise made by Hamas representatives as they had bothered to meet the delegation.
“They didn’t have to meet us but they came to meet us, which shows that they are telling the truth when they say Thai hostages are still safe,” Muk said.