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EU Freezes Deposed Tunisian President's Assets

Deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (file photo)

Europe Union foreign ministers have agreed to freeze the assets of deposed Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and his family.

The move came at the request of Tunisian authorities, and diplomatic sources say dozens of associates of the former leader could face similar sanctions.

Mr. Ben Ali is suspected of having siphoned off large amounts of his country's wealth into his own pockets during his years in power.

It is not clear where his assets are held.

Switzerland on January 19 announced that it had frozen all the assets belonging to the deposed Tunisian leader in the country.

Mr. Ben Ali was ousted on January 14 by a popular revolt in Tunisia, which has since triggered protests against poverty and corruption around the Arab world.

Meeting in Brussels on Monday, EU foreign ministers also called for a peaceful political transition in Tunisia as well as in Egypt, while some cautioned against a takeover by radical or extremist religious elements.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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