The United States is working with U.N. member countries on a resolution sending "a strong message of deterrence" to Zimbabwe's government for its crackdown on its citizens, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Saturday.
Rice said Washington, which already has extensive sanctions in place against the government of President Robert Mugabe, would consider imposing more on its own as well as working for sanctions at the U.N. Security Council.
"I think we will have to see what other measures are available to both the United States and to the international community more broadly to send a strong message of deterrence," she told reporters on her plane as she was flying to Seoul for talks with South Korean officials.
"The United States will use everything in our power in terms of sanctions, appropriate sanctions," she said.
Asked whether Russia and China, which have been reluctant to discuss Zimbabwe at the Security Council, might object, she said: "We'll see how Russia and China react when we get together in the Security Council, but its hard to imagine that anybody would fail to act given what we are all watching on the ground in Zimbabwe."
Rice said there were widespread but unconfirmed reports from Zimbabwe about people being intimidated into voting in a particular way in Friday's presidential run-off, which Mugabe refused to call off after the opposition withdrew out of safety concerns.
A storm of condemnation from inside and outside Africa greeted Mugabe's decision to hold Friday's election, in which he was the sole candidate. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Western powers denounced the poll as illegitimate.
"We've heard of people being threatened, if they did not vote for Mugabe, they will be sought out for violence, or reprisal. There needs to be a very strong message from the international community about what happened there."
A senior U.S. official said Washington was working with the British and others at the U.N. on a Zimbabwe resolution for next week. The United States has the presidency of the Security Council through June.
Rice was flying from Japan, where she attended a Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting that lambasted Zimbabwe for its one man presidential run-off election on Friday.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by David Fox)