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Bush Announces New Sanctions Against Burmese Government


President Bush has announced new sanctions against Burma's military government, for its continued persecution of the pro-democracy opposition.

Speaking in Washington today - Friday Mr. Bush said he ordered the U.S. Treasury Department to put additional economic restrictions on Burma's leaders, and individuals who support them. He also instructed the Commerce Department to tighten its export controls for Burma.

In his address, the president also urged Burma's neighbors -- naming China and India -- to put more pressure on the military government.

Burmese authorities have continued to arrest protesters who participated in demonstrations last month. The government says hundreds are still being held and interrogated.

The president said if the Burmese government wants reconciliation it must release all political prisoners and enter negotiations with the opposition.

He said additional sanctions against the government are possible if it does not end its repression of the Burmese people.

On Thursday, UN special envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari suggested the Burmese government should be offered incentives in exchange for democratic reforms. He said that would show Burma's rulers that the international community is not just there to punish them.

The European Union this week decided to impose an import embargo on timber, gems and precious metals from Burma in response to the military's violent crackdown on demonstrators.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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