29 June 2012

Tunisia: U.S. Plans Bid to Retrieve Arab Dictators' Assets

Photo: Libération
Chamber of commerce.

Tunis — The United States of America is planning to hold a conference next September with newly democratic Arab countries to help them recover assets pilfered abroad by their deposed ousted during their rule, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats said on Thursday.

Mr. Hormats said that Arab Spring nations had been seeking the assistance of the United States and European nations to locate money that was funneled overseas.

"Of the priorities that they all expressed, that was really very close to the top of the list," Mr. Hormats told reporters. "First of all it's an issue of justice, and it's also an issue of money."

Robert Hormats said that the conference, which will involve Arab Spring and Western nations, will look at forensic work and other ways to locate the ill-gotten assets. He said that the conference will likely take place in a Gulf Arab country. The US official was speaking after a visit to Tunisia.

Mr. Hormats was upbeat about expanding US investment in Tunisia, saying that the country was an outward-looking and well-educated one and praising Prime Minister Jebali for his economic priorities.

" They have challenges," Mr. Hormats said. "But the important thing about them is they have a very well thought-out set of policies for addressing those challenges and a very good government leadership to do that."

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