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U.S. Sanctions Tightened Against Zimbabwe Regime

U.S. Sanctions Tightened Against Zimbabwe Regime; Bush Says If Mugabe-MDC Talks Succeed, United States Is Prepared To Help

Washington -- Citing continued politically motivated violence and the failure to lift a ban on humanitarian assistance, the Bush administration expanded its economic sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and other individuals and entities with close ties to his regime.

In a July 25 statement, President Bush said his decision is a direct result of the Mugabe regime's actions, including the continuation of political violence directed against political opponents that ultimately forced the withdrawal of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai from the June 27 runoff vote.

The expanded sanctions come after Mugabe's government disregarded calls from the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations to halt the attacks, and it continued to prevent nongovernmental organizations from providing humanitarian assistance, the statement said.

"No regime should ignore the will of its own people and calls from the international community without consequences," Bush said.

The president acknowledged ongoing discussions between Zimbabwe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the MDC in South Africa. If the talks result in "a new government that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people," he said, "the United States stands ready to provide a substantial assistance package, development aid and normalization with international financial institutions."

Welcoming the European Union's July 22 announcement that it had expanded its own sanctions against the Mugabe regime, State Department acting spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said July 23 that "expanded sanctions at this critical juncture will keep the pressure on the ZANU-PF to show good faith in these talks."

According to a July 25 statement from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, 17 entities, including several companies that are fully or partly owned by the Zimbabwean government, and one individual with close ties to the Mugabe regime have been targeted in the latest round of sanctions.

They include mining companies, such as the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, and financial institutions, including the Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe and ZB Financial Holdings Limited.

Omani citizen Thamer Bin Saeed Ahmed Al-Shanfari and his company, Oryx Natural Resources, were also designated for enabling Mugabe and his senior officials to benefit from mining ventures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Treasury statement said all of its targets have been illegally used to "siphon revenue and foreign exchange from the Zimbabwean people." The designation means that all of their assets in the United States are frozen and Americans are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with them.

Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Adam Szubin said the Mugabe regime continues to be intransigent in the face of calls to end the political violence.

"These actions send a clear warning to those who would protect Mugabe and his assets at the expense of the Zimbabwean people," Szubin said.

Up To USD $2.5 Million Authorized To Assist Refugees

In his July 25 statement, President Bush also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to help Zimbabwe's refugees and asylum seekers who have been displaced by the political violence. He authorized up to $2.5 million from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to help them. Many of the refugees have fled to neighboring South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.

"We will also continue our efforts to provide food and health assistance as part of our commitment to help the people of Zimbabwe in their time of greatest need," Bush said.

ENDS

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