WASHINGTON — President Bush signed an executive order on Friday to expand sanctions against what he calls the "illegitimate" regime of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his supporters.
Bush's action was meant to send a strong message that the U.S. will not permit individuals closely linked to Mugabe to operate in U.S. financial markets. The new sanctions also are meant to add pressure on Mugabe, whose ruling party recently began power-sharing talks with the opposition to try to resolve the country's economic and political crisis.
"No regime should ignore the will of its own people and calls from the international community without consequences," Bush said in a statement.
The president said he took steps to extend sanctions as a result of the Mugabe regime's continued "politically motivated violence" and the African leader's decision to disregard calls from the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations to halt the attacks.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he won March presidential elections. But Tsvangirai did not win enough for an outright victory and pulled out of a June runoff because of state-sponsored violence that has killed more than 150 opposition supporters, injured thousands and left tens of thousands homeless. Mugabe went ahead with a one-man presidential runoff widely dismissed by the international community as a sham.
"Should ongoing talks in South Africa between Mugabe's regime and the Movement of Democratic Change result in a new government that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people, the United States stands ready to provide a substantial assistance package, development aid, and normalization with international financial institutions," Bush said.
Bush also said that Mugabe has continued his ban the activities of non-governmental organizations that are trying to provide assistance to the vulnerable people of Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, he reaffirmed his commitment to support the people of Zimbabwe with up to $2.5 million from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to assist Zimbabwean refugees and asylum seekers who have been displaced by the violence.
The Treasury Department designated 17 entities and one individual that it says has supported Mugabe's regime and therefore is undermining the democratic process in Zimbabwe.
"In light of the continued intransigence of the brutal Mugabe regime, the U.S. is imposing further sanctions against this regime and its supporters," said Adam J. Szubin, director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. "These actions send a clear warning to those who would protect Mugabe and his assets at the expense of the Zimbabwean people."
The European Union on Tuesday broadened similar sanctions against Zimbabweans, adding 37 new individuals and companies to the existing list of 131.
However, two weeks ago China and Russia vetoed a U.S.-sponsored U.N. Security Council resolution that proposed worldwide sanctions against Mugabe and 13 of his officials.
As a result of Treasury's action, the U.S. assets of the one individual and 17 entities must be frozen. Additionally, U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with those designated under the sanctions. They are:
_Thamer Bin Saeed Ahmed al-Shanfari, an Omani national with close ties to the Mugabe regime, and his company, Oryx Natural Resources, which al-Shanfari allegedly uses to enable Mugabe and his senior officials to derive personal benefit from various mining ventures in Congo.
_OSLEG, also known as Operation Sovereign Legitimacy, a commercial arm of the Zimbabwean army.
_Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, the marketing and export agent for all minerals, except gold and silver, mined in Zimbabwe.
_Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp., which is involved in investment in the mining industry and plans government mining projects.
_Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Co., the nation's largest steel works.
_Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe, a commercial bank owned by the government.
_Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Ltd., a state-owned enterprise that owns a large number of companies operating in the industrial sector.
_Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, a financing entity.
_Zimre Holdings Ltd., an investment and reinsurance entity.
_ZB Financial Holdings Ltd., a holding company for a group of companies involved in commercial and merchant banking, and four of its major subsidiaries: ZB Bank Ltd., ZB Holdings Ltd., Intermarket Holdings Ltd. and Scotfin Ltd.
_Divine Homes, a property company run by David Chapfika, Zimbabwe's deputy minister of agriculture.
_COMOIL Ltd., a petroleum importing company owned by Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe's deputy minister of youth development and employment.
_Famba Safaris, a safari operation in Zimbabwe, whose director and major shareholder is Webster Shamu, Mugabe's minister of state for policy implementation.