The European Union this week added the names of five Zimbabwean deputy ministers to a list of some 100 officials and other members of President Robert Mugabe's inner circle barred from travel in Europe and subject to financial asset freezes.
The EU extended its sanctions on Zimbabwean government and ruling party officials in February, and took the latest step expanding the list on Wednesday.
Ambassadors in Harare from EU countries issued a statement expressing strong concern at the deterioration of human rights, political conditions and the economy, and condemned a crackdown on the Movement for Democratic Change which has involved the abduction and severe beating of members, allegedly by state agents.
Added to the EU list were Lazarus Dokora, Aguy Georgias, Titus Maluleke, Tracey Mutinhiri and Walter Mzembi, respectively deputy ministers of higher education, economic development, education, indigenization and water resources.
Deputy Water Resources Minister Walter Mzembi told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the EU has no right to impose sanctions on Zimbabwean officials, saying only Zimbabwean voters and God could do this.
But senior political analyst Sydney Masamvu of the International Crisis Group said in an interview from Pretoria, South Africa, that the additions to the European sanctions list were significant as they increase international pressure on the government.