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Obama Extends Freeze|on Mugabe’s Assets

WASHINGTON (CN) - The United States will continue to freeze the assets of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and most members of his government for another year, due to their ongoing efforts to subvert the democratic process in that nation.

President Obama has extended the national emergency regarding Zimbabwe originally declared by former President George W. Bush in 2003.

Obama said, in the administrative order extending the state of emergency, that actions of Mugabe and others "have contributed to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe, to politically motivated violence and intimidation in that country, and to political and economic instability in the southern African region ... and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States."

Bush's Executive Order 13288 was issued March 6, 2003, after allegations of vote rigging, violence and fraud emerged about Mugabe's victory in the 2002 presidential elections. After both general elections in 2005 and 2008, Bush issued new executive orders expanding the scope and duration of sanctions against Mugabe and his backers.

It is widely believed that in the 2008 election opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe but official results required a run-off between the two men. Tsvangirai pulled out just a few days before the election after police detained him several times.

South African President Thabo Mbeki negotiated a power sharing agreement that left Mugabe as president and installed Tsvangirai as prime minister.

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