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Accord on prisoner swap with Iran likely

Accord on prisoner swap with Iran likely

Apr 20, 2011 - 20:56

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Tehran has been given for perusal a draft agreement on swapping prisoners, the deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs delegation, which returned today from a two-day visit to Tehran, agreed with Iranian authorities on inking an accord, Javed Ludin, told reporters in Kabul.

Resolving problems of Afghan refugees in the neighbouring country was a key objective of the visit, he said, adding Iran had promised to sign the agreement after studying the draft.

This draft agreement would address concerns regarding the Afghan refugees in Iranian jails, the deputy minister said. Languishing in that country are about 5,000 Afghan prisoners, 280 of them sentenced to death.

Ludin said the number of prisoners, based on two years old statistics, changed almost daily.

Iran also promised support for the Afghan government's the peace initiative, he said, adding trade issues also came under discussion. The two sides pledged to remove obstacles in this regard.

"The Iranian government has promised issuing Afghan citizens would be issued visas without being asked about their travel procedures, purpose and routes," he continued. The neighbours agreed to combat human trafficking, drug smuggling and organised crime.

More than a million registered Afghan refugees are currently living in Iran, according to the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).



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