EU`s Ashton to Egypt: Official

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 21:20

Brussels: Chief EU diplomat Catherine Ashton
will visit Egypt next Tuesday, 24 hours after foreign
ministers consider an asset freeze against henchmen from the
outgoing regime, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

English baroness Ashton "will go to Egypt on Tuesday, she
has been invited" by Egyptian authorities, the spokesman told
AFP, after Cairo initially blocked her attempts to match a
trip to Tunisia with a similar visit to Egypt.

Ashton has a mandate from the leaders of the EU`s 27
states to explore moves to boost democracy in North Africa
while mobilising opportunities for investment from European
states.

EU governments weighed requests from Egypt to freeze the
assets of Hosni Mubarak`s inner circle already yesterday, with
France itself deciding to heighten money-laundering
surveillance.

Cairo wanted a freeze slapped on assets belonging to
seven people, including five parliamentarians and former
government ministers and two of their associates. New names
may be added to the list.

France has asked financial operators to pay "special
attention" and apply "extra measures of vigilance" to suspect
Egyptian assets.

The United States is also looking at similar sanctions,
after Switzerland on Friday froze assets just hours after
Mubarak`s fall.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 21:20

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