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Bush widens sanctions against Zimbabwe
Updated: 2005-11-25 09:06

U.S. President George W. Bush has widened economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, blocking the assets of an additional 128 people and 33 entities Washington says undermine democratic reform in the southern African state.

A statement posted on the White House Web site said Bush had issued an executive order allowing U.S. authorities to "block the property of additional persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe, their immediate family members, and any persons assisting them."

The executive order, which took effect on Wednesday, expands sanctions imposed by the United States against 77 Zimbabweans in March 2003.

Earlier this month, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told the U.S. ambassador, Christopher Dell, to "go to hell" after the envoy blamed the country's economic and political crisis on mismanagement and corrupt rule.

"The failed political and economic policies of the Robert Mugabe regime have succeeded in devastating Zimbabwe," the White House statement said.

Citing U.S. calls for the Mugabe government to stop harassing Zimbabwe's opposition and hold free elections, the statement said:

"The parliamentary elections in March 2005 were neither free nor fair. Recent demolitions of housing and informal markets have displaced 700,000 people at a time when Zimbabwe is already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis."

The statement said Bush "designated and blocked the assets of 128 persons and 33 entities." It did not list them.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since 1980, rejects accusations his policies have brought the economy to its knees and instead says the country has fallen victim to sabotage by Western powers.

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