Karzai leaves for Tehran to attend Nowruz festivities
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai, heading a high-level delegation, on Saturday left for Iran to participate in a ceremony celebrating Nowruz, which marks the beginning of the New Year in Iran and several other countries, his office said.
The presidents and guests from several regional countries are to attend the Tehran event to honour Nowruz, which is celebrated in almost all Farsi-speaking communities as well as parts of Central Asia, Caucasus, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans.
President Karzai will be meeting his counterparts including Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, Tajikistani president Imam Ali Rahman and others on the sidelines of the celebrations, a statement issued from the President's Office said. Karzai will also visit Iranian religious leader, Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, it said.
Issues concerning strengthening bilateral relations with Iran and problems facing Afghan refugees in the neighbouring country will be discussed during Karzia's two-day trip, deputy spokesman for the Presidential Palace, Syamak Harwi, said.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, more than one million Afghan refugees are living in Iran and 1.7 millions in Pakistan.
There are nearly 5,000 Afghan prisoners held in Iranian jails, officials at the Ministry of Migration and repatriates, say.
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