Bern (Switzerland), Jan 19 (Agencies): Switzerland's federal council has agreed to freeze any assets of Tunisia's ousted president and the incumbent leader of Ivory Coast.

Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey has told reporters that the measures will take effect immediately and target Tunisia's former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Ivory Coast incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

She said on Wednesday the moves aim to "encourage" their countries to seek help in a possible criminal case against the men, and it is "very unlikely" that any funds linked to them had left Switzerland in recent days.

Ben Ali fled Tunisia on Friday amid massive public protests, and many countries want Gbagbo to leave power in the West African country following elections in November that they say were won by his rival.