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Appeal for decision on Mobutu frozen assets

Switzerland has asked the Democratic Republic of the Congo for help in resolving whether to release frozen assets belonging to former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

Ten years ago Switzerland blocked assets deposited by the late ruler and his family worth around SFr8 million ($6.54 million) in response to a request from the country's government.

The assets are set to be released from December 15 and returned to Mobutu's family unless their origin can be legally determined.

A letter from Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey asking President Joseph Kabila to make a decision about the assets has been delivered in person by the Swiss ambassador in Kinshasa.

Switzerland has expressed its willingness in the past to return the assets to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.