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Bush Renews Sanctions on Burma


President Bush has signed a three-year extension of a ban on imports from military-ruled Burma.

Mr. Bush the signed the renewal of the 2003 Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act into law Tuesday.

The White House says the ban is a sign of serious concern about the Burmese military government's continuing refusal to move towards democracy.

The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma Tuesday welcomed the renewed sanctions. The Washington-based group says the move sends a "strong and clear message" to Rangoon that its human rights violations and ignoring of international calls for democracy will not be tolerated.

Burma's neighbors in the Association of Southeast Nations also recently condemned the regime's lack of tangible progress on democratic reforms.

The Burmese government has not commented on the U.S. sanctions extension.

Burma's military rulers have held pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for most of the last 16 years despite numerous calls for her release by international human rights organizations and other groups.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won elections in 1990, but the military rulers refused to relinquish power. The Burmese government has promised democratic reforms, but there has been little sign of progress.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP and Reuters.

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