In a significant development, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Srettha Thavisin, has recently made an announcement stating that Saudi Arabia has made a vital pledge to aid in the travail of liberating Thai hostages enmeshed in the throes of the Israel-Hamas war. This statement was made after a productive meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, at the vital Asean-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in the historic city of Riyadh.
The Crown Prince, deeply moved by the plight of the Thai workers embroiled in this tumultuous conflict, has given a firm commitment towards facilitating Thailand in securing the homecoming of its endangered citizens. This dire matter formed the core of various discussions at the summit, where the seasoned, 61-year-old Thai PM, and a consortium of leaders appealed for a peaceful resolution through meaningful dialogue and immediate liberation of hostages.
Delving deeper into the narrative of this serious issue, PM Srettha conveyed his interaction with the Sultan of Oman during a luncheon. The Sultan was profoundly shocked on hearing about the enormous hardships faced by Thailand, including the troubling issue of 19 Thai hostages. The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, was also deeply concerned for the captives and extended his condolences for the grave losses suffered by Thailand.
In a related development, it is a relief to note that various nations have given permissions to the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) to utilise their airspace to evacuate stranded Thai citizens from Tel Aviv, Israel. These nations include Myanmar, India, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and, significantly, Israel itself. The Bangkok Post has reported that such a move will drastically reduce the travel time of the RTAF’s A340-500 aircraft from 13 hours to approximately 8.5.
As per the recent update last Friday, the spokeswoman from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Kanchana Patarachoke has reported that of the Thai casualties in this turmoil stood at 30, with 16 severely injured, and 19 in hostage. Taking cognizance of the grave scenario, over 8,000 Thais have registered for voluntary repatriation, with 116 electing to stay in Israel. She further added that there are plans to arrange two daily direct flights from Israel starting from Monday onward, aiming to evacuate more than 800 Thais on a daily basis.
Taking the situation in his stride, the RTAF commander, ACM Phanphakdee Phatthanakul, expressed confidence that the RTAF will continue evacuation missions as and when required. Both the GCC, a six-member outfit, and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), have appealed for the release of nearly 200 hostages held by Hamas militants and restoration of basic services for Palestinians.
On the other side of the conflict, Israel has assured that they would dismantle Hamas, post the raid conducted from the Gaza Strip into Southern Israel. The hostility had led to the loss of no less than 1,400 innocent lives. Furthermore, reports suggested that Hamas militants have held nearly 200 hostages from various countries captive. However, the Israeli army has confirmed that most of these hostages are still alive. Stay updated with The Thaiger’s latest stories on their new Facebook page here.