May 18, 2015, 3:21 PM
News Code: 81612576
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Interior minister urges cooperation among regional states

Tehran, May 18, IRNA - Interior Minister Abdulreza Rahmani Fazli on Monday stressed boost of cooperation among regional states.

He made the remarks in a joint press conference with the visiting Pakistani Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch.

Resolution of regional problems need more cooperation among regional states, the official added.

Rahmani Fazli said that development of security in the border areas is on the agenda of the two countries.

He declared fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and insurgency as other grounds for cooperation between Iran and Pakistan.

The official urged improvement of life of Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan.

Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan would continue their bilateral and trilateral meetings in order to realize their goals in both fields of economy and security, he underlined.

Pakistani minister for states and frontier regions arrived here on Sunday to attend the fourth session of the strategic quartet committee, with the theme of Afghan refugees.

The fourth session of the strategic quartet committee, with the theme of Afghan refugees will open in Tehran on Tuesday.

Iran and Pakistan are the main hosts of the refugees and Afghanistan is the source country, that will be represented in the meeting along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan constitute the largest and most protracted refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate. Pakistan hosted 1,615,876 refugees, and Iran 840,158 until January 1, 2014. The majority have been residing in both countries since they fled the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980s.

Despite the success of voluntary repatriation programs both in Pakistan and Iran, many Afghan refugees have specific needs, vulnerabilities and protection concerns that prevent their return. In addition, the volatile security situation and human rights violations in Afghanistan remain an ongoing concern. In May 2012, the governments of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and UNHCR adopted the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR). The SSAR outlines the need for increased voluntary repatriation, but also for enhanced resettlement as a means of international responsibility sharing, assistance to refugee affected and hosting areas (RAH) and alternative stay arrangements for refugees in Pakistan. Resettlement is considered to be a strategic component of the SSAR and a vital tool for maintaining adequate protection space.

Iran is a signatory to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Hazara and Tajiks represent over 70% of the Afghan refugee population in Iran, with the remainder consisting of other ethnic groups such as the Pashtuns. Most refugees in Iran reside in urban areas, with only 3 per cent living in settlements mostly located in rural areas.