The United States expanded sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's government on Friday, increasing pressure on the Zimbabwean leader as his party discusses a power-sharing deal with the opposition.
The U.S. move followed a similar EU decision this week. U.S. President George W. Bush said it was a response to continued political violence after Mugabe's re-election on June 27 in a vote boycotted by the opposition and condemned around the world, the Reuters reported.
Mugabe's party has begun talks with Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC on sharing power to end a dire political and economic crisis. But state media said the ruling ZANU-PF would insist that Mugabe's re-election be recognized, casting doubt over chances for agreement.
President Bush said in a statement he had signed an order which would make it easier to single out individuals in Mugabe's government and entities connected to it.
"This action is a direct result of the Mugabe regime's continued politically-motivated violence... No regime should ignore the will of its own people and calls from the international community without consequences," Bush said.
The U.S. Treasury moved to freeze the assets of 17 business enterprises controlled by the Zimbabwean government and banned Americans from doing business with them.
Although Western countries have increased their own sanctions on Zimbabwe, Russia and China blocked their efforts to get such measures adopted by the United Nations.
African states generally opposes sanctions, but South African President Thabo Mbeki said at an EU-South African summit on Friday he had not asked the Europeans to shift their own position on sanctions.