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Swiss want to return Libyan assets

Switzerland wants United Nations permission to unfreeze some of the Libyan assets it blocked in February after the start of the uprising against Moammar Gaddafi.

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said on Thursday that Switzerland wanted to hand over as soon as possible $420 million (SFr334 million) belonging to Libyan public entities “for the benefit of the Libyan people”.

Speaking at an international conference on the future of Libya in Paris, she said the international community had the duty to hand back the money “to satisfy the urgent humanitarian needs of the people, and to help in the reconstruction of the country”.

She offered Swiss help specifically in the areas of disarmament, the reform of the security apparatus and mine clearing. Switzerland is also prepared to help Libya in establishing a state based on the rule of law. She stressed the importance of promoting the role of women in the new Libya. Swiss experts could also participate in a UN political mission, she said.

She announced that Switzerland would “reactivate” its embassy in Tripoli “as quickly as possible”.

In all, Switzerland has frozen Libyan assets worth SFr650 million. and agencies

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