Tunis — Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem said, on Wednesday, that four ambassadors were involved in the case of giving diplomatic passports to former President Ben Ali and members of his family.
Mr. Abdessalem who refused to unveil the identity of the persons involved in the case, told journalists that they are "four ambassadors, a former consul, a former director and two civil servants".
A special commission was created to examine the circumstances and identify the authors involved in this case whose file to be submitted to Justice.
Speaking of administrative and financial corruption cases within the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr. Abdessalem pointed out that the two commissions tasked with this file were able to find out 14 corruption cases including 7 financial corruption cases, 4 administrative corruption cases and 3 financial and administrative cases.
"These files will be forwarded to the Justice Ministry before being looked at by the courts" he specified.
The list of persons involved in these cases are 2 former ministers, two secretary-generals, 17 heads of diplomatic missions, (ambassadors, general consuls), three former CEOs, a former chargé de mission, 6 accountants and 4 civil servants.
In his meeting with the press, Mr. Abdessalem also spoke of his recent activities, particularly his visits to Japan, Russia, Algeria, Egypt, Syria, the meeting of the friends of Syria in Paris as well as his participation in the meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Doha, Qatar.
Mr. Abdessalem said that Tunisia does not have any "exceptional relations" with Qatar, reasserting the request for the extradition of ousted president Ben Ali who benefits from a "guest status" in Saudi Arabia, he said.
Evoking the Syrian file, Mr. Abdessalem said that the Ministry lacks information on the number of Tunisians who joined the Free Syrian Army. "These people entered Syria illegally" he said, adding that the Ministry is in touch with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to repatriate the corpses of Tunisians killed in Syria.
The issue of granting diplomatic passports to political party leaders was also raised by journalists. Mr. Abdessalem pointed out that giving a passport to Ennahdha movement President Rached Ghannouchi "is not an exceptional measure". The National Constituent Assembly Speaker is the only person entitled to determine the list of presidents of parliamentary groups who will be granted diplomatic passports, he added.