PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Haiti's military-backed government says the United States had no business imposing sanctions that will only make life more difficult for the poor.

President Clinton froze the U.S. assets of Haiti's leaders and their wealthy supporters on Friday and barred their entry into the United States.

''The government very much regrets the decision of the Clinton administration. When one is a mediator in good faith, it is not appropriate to penalize the parties for refusing to accept the recommended solution,'' said a government statement broadcast nationwide.

The Clinton administration decided to impose the sanctions after the army rejected a U.S.-backed plan last month to send 500 police monitors to Haiti, a step toward the reinstatement of elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ousted by a military coup in September 1991.

The government statement said Haiti was undergoing ''an internal conflict'' and that Aristide's overwhelming victory in the nation's first-ever democratic balloting in 1990 wasn't sufficient in itself to establish democracy.

Aristide, a radical Roman Catholic priest, enjoys widespread support among Haiti's impoverished masses but is hated by the army and much of the tiny elite, who oppose his return from exile.

''The sanctions worsen the suffering of the Haitian people. What is necessary is a global consensus,'' the statement said.

Clinton also said Washington would consult with the United Nations about imposing worldwide sanctions on Haiti. The country's economy already has been crippled by a trade embargo imposed by the Organization of American States to pressure for Aristide's return.

Among 83 individuals barred from U.S. business or liable to have their American assets frozen are Prime Minister Marc Bazin, most of his Cabinet, army chief Raoul Cedras, Cedras' high command, police commander Michel Francois, millionaire banker and businessman Clifford Brandt and directors of state utilities and companies.

However, some of the most well-known supporters of the coup - including several legislators and wealthy businessmen - were not included in the U.S. list, although the White House said other names may be added at any time.

Planning Minister Jean-Andre Victor, also on the list, said that with his decision, Clinton ''will make new enemies.'' He called the list ''unfair and arbitrary.''

Later, Bazin replaced four of his Cabinet ministers in a move that appeared unrelated to the new U.S. sanctions. Appointed were Charles Beaulieu as economy minister, Jean-Robert Simonize as information minister, Pierre Mathurin as commerce minister and Axel Abelard as public works director.

The ministries of economy, commerce and public works have often been criticized as ineffectual. In another development Friday, officials said the U.S. Consulate's visa section was shut down this week. The announcement followed a report in Thursday's Miami Herald that several consulate employees were fired on suspicion of having taken bribes for quick, favorable action on visa requests.

A State Department official in Washington said the closure was ordered last week to allow ''a review of some internal administrative matters.''

The closure won't affect Haitians seeking political asylum, whose requests are being handled at a separate office.