FURTHER SANCTIONS AGAINST MUGABE
Zimbabwe officials' assets frozen.
President Mugabe has been censured by the US since 2003. The United States has widened sanctions against Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe, freezing the assets of 128 people and 33 institutions. US President George W Bush issued an executive order targeting those "hindering democratic reform in Zimbabwe", including Mr Mugabe himself. Mr Bush had already issued sanctions against Mr Mugabe and 76 other officials two years ago. He said deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe had forced him to act again.
The White House said suppression of opposition groups, free media and the judiciary had prompted the measures. In a letter to congressional leaders, President Bush said the opposition and civil society in Zimbabwe remained suppressed.
"Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections in March 2005 were not free or fair," he wrote. "Recent demolitions of low-income housing and informal markets have caused 700,000 people to lose their homes, jobs or both. Additional measures are required to promote democratic change." The new additions to the censured list will be banned from business dealings with US citizens.
Under the new order, US treasury secretaries and the state department will now be allowed to add to the list without a presidential order.
"This action is not aimed at the people of Zimbabwe but rather at those most responsible for their plight," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.