Friday, October 25, 2013

 

LogosMarrakesh, 26th October, 2013. The second Arab Forum on Asset Recovery (AFAR II) begins today in Marrakech, Morocco. The event is being co-hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco and the United Kingdom, in association with the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative of the World Bank (STAR) and the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime. The forum is to be opened by His Excellency Mr Abdallah BAHA, Minister of State, Representative of the Chief of Government of Morocco, and it brings together the G8, regional partners and key financial centres to forge greater collaboration towards the recovery of stolen assets in transition countries and to reinforce the political commitment of all the partners in the MENA region to establish efficient policies on asset recovery.

The Moroccan Minister of General Affairs and Governance, Mohamed Louafa welcomed the presence of  the Arab Forum to Marrakesh. “By organizing this second Forum in Morocco, the Kingdom expresses its commitment, alongside the countries of the G8, to support the Arab countries concerned in overcoming the challenges related to the recovery of assets, and reiterates its readiness to cooperate with all partners on the basis of mutual respect and shared interests.

In a show of the importance placed by the United Kingdom on ensuring that stolen assets are returned to the peoples of the Arab Spring countries, the UK’s Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, will lead the UK delegation. Dominic Grieve said, ‘”the UK is committed to supporting Arab countries in transition seek, trace and recover the assets stolen by former regimes.  Recovering these assets is very complex and requires an international response, which is why the UK is using its G8 presidency to highlight the continued focus on this issue.

The Arab Forum on Asset Recovery brings together key countries, practitioners and experts from over 40 countries to drive forward better collaboration and understanding of the challenges and solutions. It shows the willingness and clear commitment that is needed to return these stolen assets to the people of the transition countries. “

Gerard Byam, the Director of Strategy and Operations for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank also welcomed the opportunity to attend the Arab Forum and acknowledged its importance, "the recovery of stolen assets is a collective imperative of the international community. It sends a resounding signal that there can be no impunity for the theft of assets and that accountability of leaders and government officials to their citizens is critical for enhancing development effectiveness.

Since it was established a year ago the Arab Forum has embodied the practical intent of the international community, promoting policies, practices and solutions to recover assets. The results have been encouraging and there must be no letup in the determination of the international community and the work of the Arab Forum so that justice can be achieved, assets returned to their rightful owners and used for the benefit of all."

Notes for Editors

AFAR II will identify remaining challenges in the recovery of stolen assets through technical expert workshops; recognise improvements in domestic and international coordination and in legal and institutional frameworks; adopt principles of good practice; establish next steps for further progress on the Action Plan on asset recovery and provide extensive opportunities for bilateral meetings to discuss on-going cases.

This year, the UK holds the chairmanship of the G8 Deauville Partnership , and is committed to support Arab Countries in Transition seeking to trace and recover significant sums of money stolen by former regimes. In June 2013, the G8 Leaders’ Communiqué from Lough Erne reiterated the G8’s high level commitment to return stolen assets to the Arab Countries in Transition, including through participation in the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery (AFAR):

‘We reiterate our high level of commitment to return stolen assets to countries in transition, including through participation in the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery. We will continue to strengthen cooperation on bilateral casework and develop further the collaboration among our practitioners.’

The Arab Forum on Asset Recovery was established last year (2012) under the US’s G8 Presidency and the first meeting took place in Qatar in September 2012.

Contacts:

Kingdom of Morroco:                                                    

Sara Boukhobza
Email: sara@boukhobza.com Cell: (+212) 6 04 70 27 37

The United Kingdom

Mohammed Matrane
Mohammed.matrane@fco.gov.uk Cell: (+212) 661 466 951 – Tel (+212) 537 633 375

The World Bank

Richard Miron
Email: rmiron@worldbank.org Cell: (+44) 7736 883 138

For further information:

The Arab Forum on Asset Recovery

The Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition

Action Plan on Asset Recovery

The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR).

The Kingdom of Morocco is hosting AFAR II in Marrakesh from 26th – 28th October 2013. For further details on the event including registration for the media go the following webpage:  http://www.affaires-generales.gov.ma/index.php/fr/component/content/article/244-afar2/539-afar-ii.html