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US Senators Seek to Extend Burma Sanctions


In Washington, senators from both major U.S. political parties are calling for sanctions against Burma to be extended for another year.

The Republican party's leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell from the state of Kentucky, and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, a member of the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill, are lead sponsors of a sanctions bill introduced on Thursday.

McConnell, a frequent critic of the Burmese military regime, says sanctions should remain in force until the Burmese government changes its policies. The sanctions include a ban on all imports from Burma and visa restrictions on members of the ruling junta.

The United States and the European Union have kept strong sanctions in force against Burma due to the military government's poor human-rights record and its failure to hand over power to winners of the country's last free elections, in 1990.

The National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won those elections, but the generals who seized power in Burma two years earlier refused to recognize the results of the vote. Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD's secretary-general, remains under house arrest.

The United States first imposed sanctions against Burma in 1997, and President Bush tightened the restrictions six years later.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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