23 May 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin will host a special meeting today to discuss the situation in Myanmar, particularly in Myawaddy Township, which has fallen into the hands of rebel forces.

Participants in the meeting, scheduled after the weekly cabinet meeting, will include the foreign minister, military commanders in chief, and senior officials from the National Security Council.

Myawaddy is located near Mae Sot district in Tak province, Thailand, connected by the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge and checkpoints.

The district has been affected by Myanmar’s internal fighting multiple times, especially having to provide shelters for an influx of displaced persons from Myanmar.

Meanwhile Thanawat Sirikul, deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said today that Myanmar’s ambassador in Bangkok submitted a request to the Foreign Ministry on Saturday asking for permission for three commercial flights to land in Mae Sot on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, to pick up Myanmar government officials and their belongings.

Permission has been granted on humanitarian grounds, he said, adding that only one commercial flight landed yesterday and the remaining two flights were later cancelled.

Thanawat said that it has been normal practice between Thailand and Myanmar to grant permission for such requests on humanitarian grounds, on the condition that no weapons are allowed on Thai soil by Myanmar government officials.

Regarding the possibility of an influx of evacuated civilians from Myanmar, if the fighting escalates, Thanawat said he believes that Thai security officers are fully aware of the possibility and have plans to cope with the eventuality.

Anti-government rebel forces from the Karen National Union and People’s Defence Force captured Myawaddy township, opposite Mae Sot district of Tak province, over the weekend from government forces, following four days of fierce fighting.

The rebels also captured several Myanmar troops and a large cache of weapons and ammunition.