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Bush Orders More Sanctions Against Burma

  • Jim Fry

Saying the world has been inspired by pro-democracy protesters in Burma, President Bush on October 19th ordered a second round of sanctions against the nation's military rulers.

The U.S. action comes after a United Nations envoy suggested the international community entice Burma's rulers with incentives.

After Burmese troops put down pro-democracy protests last month, the United States imposed economic sanctions against individual leaders of the nation's ruling junta. At the White House on October 19th, President Bush announced more restrictions.

He was joined by his secretary of state and his wife, Laura, who made a personal appeal last month for Burma's protesters.

"Burma's rulers continue to defy the world's just demands to stop their vicious persecution. They continue to dismiss calls to begin peaceful dialogue aimed at national reconciliation."

Burma's top military leader, General Than Shwe, was among 14 leaders initially targeted by U.S. sanctions. Mr. Bush added 11 more names to the list of those whose funds in U.S. banks have been frozen.

Also, Mr. Bush tightened controls on U.S. exports to Burma, and he urged Burma's neighbors China and India to do more to pressure Burma's leaders.

The pro-democracy TV station called the Democratic Voice of Burma this week provided video that showed routine street scenes. Burma's rulers said October 18th they had appointed a committee to draft the country's constitution under the junta's "road map" to democracy. And in Jakarta October 18th, the United Nations envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari met with Indonesia's president.

Gambari suggested the Burmese government should be offered incentives in exchange for Democratic reform.

"The incentives that will help them address some of the underlining sources of discontent social and economic as well as political matters."

For several days in September, tens of thousands of people marched after Buddhist monks joined the pro-democracy protests that began in August. In the crackdown that followed, the government said it arrested 3,000 people arrests that Mr. Bush said are continuing.

"Burmese authorities claim they desire reconciliation. Well, they need to match those words with actions."

And Mr. Bush said he would consider additional measures against Burmese authorities if they do not end their brutal repression.

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