Swiss urge UN action over Ben Ali funds
Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has called on the United Nations to push for the return to Tunisia of frozen funds linked to the former Ben Ali regime.
Calmy-Rey, who also holds this year’s rotating Swiss presidency, was speaking on the first day of a two-day European Union-Tunisia Task Force meeting in Tunisia.
“The Security Council could agree sanctions which could then allow for the confiscation of blocked funds,” the minister said on Wednesday.
Switzerland was the first country to freeze funds - SFr60 million ($67 million) – belonging to former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and his clan after Ben Ali was overthrown in January.
“The return of funds taken away from the population by the Ben Ali regime is a key challenge for the new Tunisia and its ability to invest,” added the minister. Switzerland wants to return its blocked funds as quickly as possible, she said, according to the text of her speech.
But Swiss law only allows the money to be returned after its source has been declared illicit in court, Calmy-Rey said. This takes a long time.
Thus Switzerland would like to find an international solution to the issue, she declared.
Calmy-Rey then pointed to the fact that after the fall of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the UN had approved a resolution to confiscate all of the former leader’s assets and return them to the Iraqi people.
In compliance with the JTI standards
More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative
Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!
If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.