Page last updated at 22:11 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 23:11 UK

US imposes sanctions on PKK group

A Kurdish youth holds a PKK flag (file photo)
Turkey, the EU and US consider the PKK to be a terrorist organisation

President George W Bush has used a US drug trafficking law to impose financial sanctions on separatist Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

The sanctions deny the PKK access to the US financial system and block any transactions involving American companies and individuals.

Sanctions were also announced against the 'Ndrangheta mafia from Italy and a Mexican drug-lord and his cartel.

Three individuals from Afghanistan, Venezuela and Turkey were also listed.

"This action underscores the president's determination to... end the suffering that trade in illicit drugs inflicts on Americans and other people around the world, as well as prevent drug traffickers from supporting terrorists," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

The PKK is branded a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU. There is a widespread belief in Turkey that the PKK uses drug trafficking to finance terror.

More than 30,000 people have been killed since the PKK began its campaign in 1984.

The 'Ndrangheta, from the Calabria region of Italy, has overtaken Sicily's Cosa Nostra as the richest and most violent of the Italian mafia.

In Mexico, nearly 1,400 people have died this year across the country, as drug cartels fight among themselves and government forces.

Previously there were 68 individuals and entities subject to sanctions under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which became law in December 1999.

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