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Switzerland to freeze Syrian assets

The Swiss government has announced sanctions against Syria, including a freeze on any assets held in Swiss banks by 13 members of the Syrian regime.

The sanctions, which come into force on May 19, bring Switzerland into line with European Union sanctions in place since May 9. The 13 individuals are also subject to a travel ban.

These restrictive measures have been decreed, a government statement said, in response to almost two months of violent repression meted out by the army and security services of Syria against peaceful civilian demonstrators.

Anyone with information on relevant Syrian assets in Switzerland is required to inform the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) without delay, the statement added.

Roland E. Vock, head of the sanctions unit at Seco confirmed to that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not on the list. However a brother and some cousins are included in the assets freeze, along with high ranking security officials.

“We will only know in one to two weeks after the banks have carried out their screening whether assets really are held in Switzerland,” Vock said.

EU leaders could not reach agreement over enforcing an assets freeze on President Assad whose family has ruled the country for 41 years. Switzerland has followed this position.

Export of military equipment or goods which could be used for the purposes of internal repression has also been banned by Switzerland. However this embargo will not have an effect as Switzerland has not exported goods in this category for more than a decade.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR