World Bulletin / News Desk
Switzerland has blocked nearly one billion Swiss francs ($1.07 billion) in stolen assets linked to dictators in four countries at the centre of the Arab spring - Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia - the Swiss foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
Swiss authorities are cooperating with judicial authorities in Tunisia and Egypt to speed restoration of the funds, but it is expected to take years, said Valentin Zellweger, head of the international law department at the Swiss foreign ministry.
"Today a total of one billion francs is blocked in the framework of Arab spring," he told a news briefing in Geneva, giving the latest figures for funds frozen since early 2011.
The bulk of the assets, nearly 700 million francs, are tied to former President Hosni Mubarak and his entourage, he said.
Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter held talks in Cairo on Sunday with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamal Amr on judicial cooperation to restore the embezzled funds, he said.
Some 60 million francs linked to ousted Tunisian president Ben Ali has also been seized, Zellweger said. In line with U.N. Security Council sanctions, 100 million francs linked to the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and 100 million francs linked to Syrian President Bashir al-Assad and associates are blocked.
Switzerland has worked hard in recent years to improve its image as a haven for ill-gotten gains, seizing the assets of deposed dictators and agreeing in 2009 to soften strict bank secrecy to help other countries catch tax cheats.
"In the past, the affair that was resolved most quickly was Abacha and it took 5 years," Zellweger said, referring to assets linked to the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha.
Saudi Arabia has arrested 93 people suspected of belonging to the ISIL including at least 65 Saudi nationals, the interior ministry said in a statement carried on the official Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday.
Syria's defence minister has started an official visit to Iran, Lebanon's al-Manar television said on Tuesday.
The committee, in a press conference on Monday, declared the provinces of Aden, Taizz and Ad Dali as disaster zones, and said that around nine million Yemenis are in need for urgent humanitarian aid.
Anti-Assad fighters claim to control over 60 percent of northern city.
Explosions could be heard up to 2 hours after the strikes, with food and medical supplies runninglow
Khaled Koutineh’s wife insists the accident was caused by the bad weather at the time and he has no interest in politics.
With the Saudi alliance hitting Yemeni targets, Iranian commander of the Revolutionary guard has hit out Saudi Arabia accusing them of following in the steps of Israel
According to Al Jazeera, Saudi Prince Fahad Al Saud hopes a new generation of games will end negative portrayals of Arab communities.
The United Arab Emirates is one of several Arab states participating in the Saudi coalition in Yemen.
The strike was called for by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel, which represents the interests of Palestinians in the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
The Israeli army allege that the detained Palestinians were suspects in terror attacks on Israel
Syrian state media said the army had inflicted heavy casualties on rebels in the area and launched air strikes, but did not say the base had fallen.
Zarif and Kerry will meet to discuss negotiations on a landmark nuclear deal with the United States and five other global powers as they try to secure a final agreement with Iran by a June 30 deadline.
The troops arrived to protect the southern border of Saudi Arabia against any potential threats side by side with other Saudi army troops
Former president sentenced to 20 years in jail after biased trial, says Human Rights Watch
On Friday, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damati said that over the past ten months, his country had recovered a total of 221 artifacts that had been previously smuggled to the US, Australia, Germany and Denmark.