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UN Chief To Address Afghan Refugee Conference During Pakistan Visit

FILE: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
FILE: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres arrived in Pakistan on February 16 for an official visit during which he will meet with Pakistani leaders and participate in a conference on Afghan refugees, the country’s Foreign Ministry said.

“Pakistan is one of the most consistent and reliable contributors to peacekeeping efforts around the world,” Guterres said on Twitter on February 15.

“I am travelling to Pakistan, where I plan to express my gratitude to the people #ServingForPeace,” he said.

Pakistan is organizing an international conference with the UN refugee agency UNHCR, marking 40 years since hundreds of thousands of Afghans found refuge in the country.

The ministry said the UN chief’s participation in the conference was a “recognition of Pakistan’s exemplary compassion, generosity, and resolve in hosting Afghan refugees for the past four decades and our efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan is home to an estimated 2.4 million registered and undocumented people who have fled Afghanistan after their country was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979 or during later conflicts.

Many live in camps, while others have built lives for themselves in Pakistan's cities.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP